”Quick get the binocs! It’s a bird migration!”

What did you do last Thursday? You were probably sitting at your desk while craving the beautiful sunny weather outside, weren’t you?  I was expecting a typical day at the Nature Canada office, but instead was lucky enough to be recruited to join a Bird Migration Parade!

Full parade along Bikepath (2)This wasn’t just any ordinary parade, oh no. This was a procession of birds of every color, shape, and size! These feathered creatures were filled with such excitement and energy; I literally had to run to keep up! Once I had raced to get out my binoculars, I realized they were not actually birds, but students!

In honor of International Migratory Bird Day (#BirdDay on Twitter) Nature Canada organized and led about 60 elementary aged students from Centennial Public School on a parade through a portion of the Lac Deschênes – Ottawa River Important Bird Area. Each student was responsible for informing themselves and representing a particular migratory bird in this symbolic procession, which they had accomplished with incredible detail and outstanding creativity. With their beautiful masks and birds created, they were ready to celebrate Bird Day.

Birds and kids in parade (2)

Once the migrating birds reached their final destination on Bate Island they were rewarded with a quick snack of bird feed (AKA flavoured sunflower seeds). The birds were then encouraged to do a major clean up of Bate Island. Armed with garbage and recycling bags, the students scavenged and picked up several pounds of litter and recyclables from the island, all to enhance this significant wildlife habitat. With the hard work completed, they were then free to relax and enjoy a nice bus ride back to school.

All in all a very educational and eye-opening day! A very big “THANK YOU” to all the birds whose energy and excitement made this day such a success.

To read more about International Migratory Bird Day, or to get ideas on how to plan your own event please check out this link http://naturecanada.ca/initiatives/bird-day/ .