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National Elk Refuge to offer several free bird programs this January

(Jackson, Wyo.) - This January, The National Elk Refuge is offering several free programs focusing on the birds of the Refuge. In celebration of National Bird Day on January 5, and to recognize some of the other wildlife that frequents the National Elk Refuge, winter naturalists have scheduled a line-up of free programs in January to highlight the avian species that inhabit the Refuge both seasonally and year-round. National Bird Day was established to provide public education and support for conservation of the world’s bird populations. [image: Inline image 1] *A bald eagle prepares to land on a post where it will have a good vantage point of its wintry surroundings. h/t Lori Iverson / USFWS / Pitchengine Communities* The National Elk Refuge has partnered with the Teton Raptor Center to bring live birds to the Visitor Center for “Feathered Friday” visits throughout the winter, beginning on Friday, January 8. Guests will have an opportunity to learn more about birds of prey within an arm’s length of live avian ambassadors. At least two of the Teton Raptor Center’s resident birds will enhance the weekly informal presentations led by raptor experts, which will include a description of species people may see on the Refuge. A series of displays will be on exhibit in the upstairs theater of the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center throughout the month. The displays will change each week, with a focus on raptors (January 3–10), waterfowl (January 11–18), and songbirds (January 19–31). The displays will be accompanied by activities appropriate for a variety of ages and levels of knowledge related to bird identification. In the same theater area, guests can enjoy a rotating selection of bird–related films. During each Sunday of the month – January 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31 – naturalists will lead a short interpretive walk around the visitor center and the North Park lawn to explore the wildlife that lives beneath the snow as well as the aerial predators that seek them out for food. Reservations are not required, but warm layers and waterproof footwear are recommended. The easy walks are scheduled from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Anyone interested in a longer tour can book a naturalist–led excursion onto the National Elk Refuge to learn about birds and the unique adaptations that allow them to winter in this area. The birding excursions will be offered on Saturday, January 16 and Thursday, January 28 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Naturalists will have binoculars and field guides to share, but guests are encouraged to bring their own supplies if available. Participants should be appropriately dressed for the outing, which will include frequent stops in and out of the vehicle. The trip will include travel into areas of the Refuge generally closed to the public. [image: Inline image 2] *Finding short-eared owls in the Jackson area is always possible in season, but it's not an every-year opportunity. During the summer of 2012, National Elk Refuge staff and volunteers saw one almost every morning in the same area, moving from post to post. h/t USFWS / Bobby Harkey, National Elk Refuge volunteer / Pitchengine Communities*