This One’s for the Birds

The long-billed curlew is a winter resident of the wetlands at the Presidio of San Francisco.
The long-billed curlew is a winter resident of the wetlands at the Presidio of San Francisco.

NPS Photo

Since 2002, January 5 has been set aside to celebrate birds, and for good reason. They’re fun to watch in the wild, they make amazing sounds, and they’re integral parts of the natural world. Birds respond quickly to changing conditions in an area, so they’re often good indicators of a healthy ecosystem. But many species of birds face serious threats to survival, including disruptions in migratory paths, disease, invasive species, and climate change.

National parks love birds, so we’re happy to celebrate National Bird Day today and everyday. Here are a few ideas to help you get excited about birds:

  • Go bird watching. This is a fun, inexpensive hobby you can enjoy at any age, anywhere. Once you begin noticing the birds, you’ll appreciate the other aspects of nature as well. Get started with Birding for Beginners. Bird-watching opportunities exist all over the country, but checking out the 380 species of birds at Padre Island National Seashore in the winter is a great choice!
  • Listen to bird calls. Take a tour through our sound gallery of birds. Biologists in our Natural Sounds division works to protect all types of natural sounds in parks, from bat calls to wolf howls. But today we pay special attention to the bird songs...and how about that ptarmigan call?
  • Get familiar with bird research. In national parks across the country, staff protect and research birds. Technicians inventory breeding birds and migratory birds, and they also monitor changes in the environments that birds depend on. Learn more about birds in national parks.

Whether you’re an avid birder or a novice naturalist, you can learn a lot about the world around you by tuning in to the birds. Many parks have a section about the birds you can find there, so make that part of your trip prep before your next national park adventure. But don’t wait for a big trip...you can also simply enjoy the birds in your backyard, everyday!