Public Events

Detroit Zoological Society Terns Focus to National Bird Day

Sparrow minute at the Detroit Zoo to celebrate birds January 5

The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) is going stork-raving mad for herons, starlings and warblers – and kookaburras, too – in honor of National Bird Day on Saturday, January 5, at the Detroit Zoo. Through family-friendly bird-related activities and special talks with animal care staff in the Matilda R. Wilson Free-Flight Aviary, visitors can discover more about these winged wonders and what the DZS is doing to protect birds all over the world.

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“The Detroit Zoological Society is saving birds on several continents, including right here at home,” said Scott Carter, DZS chief life sciences officer. “This event is an opportunity for us to not only celebrate these species, but also to raise awareness about the threats they are facing and the important work we’re doing to preserve them. We can all help, too, by taking measures to prevent wild birds from colliding with windows in our homes, schools and businesses.”

Fun learning activities include the chance to “create” a unique species of bird while understanding the different adaptations birds have depending on the environments in which they live. Guests can use their observation skills to match bird silhouettes and explore the many different shapes and sizes of bird beaks. Conversations with DZS field scientists will take place at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., highlighting efforts to save endangered birds native to Michigan, including common terns and Great Lakes piping plovers.

DZS Curator of Birds Tom Schneider was honored in 2018 with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Champion Award, recognizing significant contributions to the recovery of endangered Great Lakes piping plovers. The DZS was also awarded the Fred Charbonneau Bird Conservation Award by Detroit Audubon in 2018, recognizing its extensive bird conservation programs – including for black terns, common terns, piping plovers, peregrine falcons, penguins and Kirtland’s warblers – as well as contributions to the Urban Bird Treaty and Urban Bird Summit and efforts to make buildings and habitats safe for birds.

The Matilda R. Wilson Free-Flight Aviary is an immersive, tropical habitat home to more than 20 species of birds. A meandering path through lush foliage offers guests the chance to experience summer in winter while observing these feathered friends taking flight and nestling in the trees.

The Detroit Zoological Society – a renowned leader in humane education, wildlife conservation, animal welfare and environmental sustainability – operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center.  In recognition of its environmental leadership, the DZS received the top Green Award from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and was named Best-Managed Nonprofit by Crain’s Detroit Business.  With an annual regional economic impact of more than $100 million, the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak is one of Michigan’s largest paid family attractions, hosting more than 1.5 million visitors annually.  Its 125 acres of award-winning naturalistic habitats are home to 2,000 animals representing 230 species.  The Belle Isle Nature Center sits on a 5-acre site surrounded by undisturbed forested wetlands on Belle Isle State Park in Detroit.  It provides year-round educational, recreational and environmental conservation opportunities for the community.  For hours, prices, directions and other information, call (248) 541-5717 or visit detroitzoo.org.



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