Our national wildlife refuges provide important habitat for a diversity of birds, including waterfowl like this American Wigeon and shorebirds like the flock of Western Sandpipers (below). Plan to visit a refuge near you this week or sometime soon (photos by Paul Konrad).
Embrace the many birding opportunities during National Wildlife Refuge Week through this weekend by visiting a refuge near you or by making a pilgrimage to a refuge in coming days. Wherever you live in the United States, there is a refuge nearby, and our national wildlife refuges provide some of the most outstanding birding locations in the country – in the world! Nearly 60 million people visit our national wildlife refuges each year and contribute $3.2 billion per year into local economies.
The National Wildlife Refuge System is the nation’s largest network of public lands dedicated to wildlife conservation, which is managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. For information about a refuge near you, see the National Wildlife Refuge System
At the same time we celebrate the Refuge System and the birds our refuges protect, let’s also not forget that these cherished lands are not all “protected.” From the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge on the North Slope of Alaska to Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge on the southern border of Texas, some long-established refuges are under intense pressure by some major corporations and some politicians to development and ruin. As birders and as Americans, let’s stay informed, keep vigilant, and make sure we can enjoy these cherished lands for decades and centuries to come. You can learn more from the National Wildlife Refuge Association about safeguarding refuges in peril at Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — The National Wildlife Refuge Association and
National Wildlife Refuges Along Our Southern Border — The National Wildlife Refuge Association