The 2.2 near-native acres that comprise Tropical Audubon Society and its Steinberg Nature Center campus were alive with children’s animated chatter mingled with birdsong on Saturday, Feb. 9, when nearly 375 children, parents and dignitaries alighted at the seventh annual Bird Day.
The enriching, record-breaking event featured interactive games, crafting and prizes, and enabled participants of every age to identify birds and experience a microscopic view of the colorful world of feathers.
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 the Caribbean, South America and Mexico. To help welcome our feathered friends, attendees learned how to create an attractive “rest stop” in their own yards and got tutored by TAS Field Trip Coordinator Brian Rapoza on how to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count weekend, Feb. 15-18. He encouraged bird watchers of every level to contribute to the national tally.
Lloyd Brown of Wildlife Rescue of Dade County orchestrated the release of a rehabilitated red-shouldered hawk, inviting Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava to set it free. Also present was Zoo Miami Ambassador Ron Magill, an outspoken proponent of habitat protection.
Members of The Phoebes (#BirdLikeaGirl) hosted crafting tables and led hands-on learning activities. While children painted bird houses, 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.
In addition to Wildlife Rescue of Dade County, exhibitors included the Cape Florida Banding Station, Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida and Pelican Harbor Seabird Station.
Title Sponsor was Leica Store Miami; co-sponsors: Audubon Florida, National Audubon, Pelican Harbor Seabird Station; community sponsors: Miami’s Community Newspapers, INYBN.com and Riviera Presbyterian.
Event chairs were Lewis “Brother” Milledge and Alison Enchelmaier.