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Miamians flock to activities for eighth annual Bird Day


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The 2.2-acre near-native grounds that comprise Tropical Audubon Society and its Steinberg Nature Center campus at 5530 Sunset Dr. were energized on Saturday, Feb. 15, by the inquisitive chatter of children as they romped, oblivious to misting rain, from one engaging Bird Day activity station to the next.

By 4 p.m., more than 200 visitors had participated at the eighth annual Bird Day event, founded by the late education and grounds chair Lewis “Brother” Milledge. The enriching afternoon featured interactive games, crafting and prizes, and enabled participants of every age to meet wild birds and learn about bird protection programs.

Held every February, Bird Day celebrates the annual northbound flight of nearly 350 species of migratory birds stopping in South Florida on their return to North America from points south. To help spot them for science, TAS Field Trip coordinator Brian Rapoza mentored attendees about how to participate that weekend in the nation’s Great Backyard Bird Count.

Members of the all-female Phoebes birding group hosted crafting tables and led hands-on learning activities. While children built birdhouses, “ate like birds” and explored the nature trails that thread the site’s Tropical Hardwood Hammock and Pine Rockland habitats, their parents took tours of the historic 1932 Doc Thomas House that serves as TAS headquarters.

Parents and children alike were wowed by the release of a rehabilitated Red-shouldered Hawk by Wildlife Rescue of Dade County and captivated by “Pepe,” a rehabilitated Brown Pelican and Education Ambassador for Pelican Harbor Seabird Station. Audubon Everglades, Cape Florida Banding Station, Environmentally Endangered Lands Program and South Florida Audubon Society hosted additional education stations.

Title sponsor was Leica Store Miami, and community sponsors were Miami’s Community Newspapers, INYBN.com, and Riviera Presbyterian.

Event chair was Alison Enchelmaier.

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