To help you get started on planning your event, we've compiled a list of activities that you may want to include in your event. Do you have ideas that are not on the list? Email us with your suggestions and we'll include them in the list.
1. Birding Hikes
What: Explore the beauty and nature trails in your area while practicing your birding skills.
Where: Naturalist clubs know where the best birding hotspots are in your town/city.
When: Birds are early risers, so it’s best to start early in the morning
Who: Having an experienced birder will help the novice and beginner birders in your group learn the basics of birding: proper binocular use, species identification, birding ethics and the best places to search for birds. Experienced birders can be found in your local naturalist/ birding club. A list of naturalist/birding groups and contact information in Canada’s major centres can be found here (include link).
Cost: No cost. Usually can be led by volunteers for naturalist or birding club
2. Bird Banding Demonstrations
What: Bird banding is an important tool used in the scientific study and monitoring of wild birds. Uniquely numbered metal bands placed on the leg of the bird allow tracking of individual birds throughout their life time. Bird banders are licenced by the Government of Canada.
Where: Bird observatories like the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory give bird banding demonstrations. Drop by during their hours of operation and see a birds being banded! Speak to staff and volunteers to co-organize a WBB bird banding demonstration.
Who: Many bird banders are willing to demonstrate banding to a public audience. Contact your local bird banding association or bird observatory. To find a bird observatory near you, check out this interactive map from Bird Studies Canada.
3. Film Festival
What: Have a movie night as part of your Welcome Back Birds festivities. Here are some family friendly, light-hearted bird-themed movies:
• The Big Year
Where: Screen your favorite bird-themed movie at a local theatre or outdoor cinema. Contact your local university to see if they’re willing to screen your film!
Who: You’ll need to access the screening rights for the movie.
4. Presentations and Talks
What: Invite your local naturalist club to host a series of talks and
presentations on birds, birding and bird conservation.
Where: Talks can be given outdoors and integrated in to a birding walk or another activity.
Who: Get in touch with your local naturalist club. The depth and breadth of bird expertise in most clubs is really astonishing. Tap into their network of volunteers who are ready and willing to share their knowledge and passion for birds and nature. See Nature Canada’s own Ted Cheskey, manager of bird conservation, give a short talk on the art of ‘pishing’ to attract birds.
5. Bird Fare and Festivals
What: In many countries bird festivals celebrate birds through art, music, food, literature and other cultural activities. By combining photography exhibits, wildlife art displays, music inspired by nature, nature- or bird-themed book signings, with traditional activities like bird walks, you can celebrate birds and nature in a unique and inspiring way. (include some photos also of Canadian bird fares).
Festival of Birds - Friends of Point Pelee
Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory Spring Birding Festival
When: A festival that coincides with the spring migration is a great way to welcome back our birds. Start planning in the fall to secure the funds and volunteers needed for a spring event.
Cost: It depends on the range of activities and the number of volunteers involved. Cut costs by involving your local naturalist club and raising funds through birdathons in the fall.
6. Birding for Children
What: Encourage parents to bring their tots to an IMBD event by providing child-friendly activities like bird stencils, a how-to on using binoculars, bird colouring books and junior birders guidebooks that help identify the parts of a bird. Face painting of anatomically correct birds and bird bingo, which can facilitate discussion on birds and their calls, are a great hit with the kids!
Where: Anywhere you can set up a tent, chairs and tables! Public parks and trails are good places to find families out and about, enjoying nature. Make sure to contact the city or town authority that issues permits for events on public land!
Cost: Minimal. Reach out to your network for tents, chairs and tables. Many arts and crafts activities can be made using inexpensive materials purchased in bulk.
7. Visit an Important Bird Area
What: Learn about the unique flora and fauna in your local IBA by exploring it on foot and in some cases, by boat. Make your observations count by participating in eBird – an online checklist for birders
Here are a few ideas on what you can do in most IBAs:
• Nature photography
• Bird watching
Need more information on your local IBA? Visit the IBA Canada website and find your IBA in the IBA Directory. (ibacanada.ca)
Promoting your event
Get the word out about your event by reaching out to your local media (TV, radio, newspapers) and community groups. Check out the Environment for the Americas handy tip-sheet on how to promote your event through word-of-mouth and traditional media outlets.
Don’t forget to also promote your event online! A growing number of people access their news online and through social media. Consider creating a Facebook page or Twitter. Need help setting up a Facebook page? Check out our Facebook primer to get started.
Raise dollars for your event by hosting a birdathon or walkathon. Here are some tips to get you started.
Looking for ways to raise funds through your community for events like Weclome Back Birds? There are numerous ways in which you can get your city/town/neighbourhood engaged in your event from the get-go through fun, outdoors activities.
Host a Walk-a-thon or Bird-a-thon
What: A walk/run along a pre-determined route or a bird count whose participants raise money for the cause of nature conservation, in this case, a celebration of birds and people.
When: Plan to host this event during a period of milder weather. This increases your chances of having people come out to support you! For birdathons, time your event with the spring or fall migration to make the most of birding opportunities in your area.
Who: People of all ages can and do participate in walkathons and birdathons.
For examples of birdathons and walkathons fundraising for nature conservation see the links below:
Nature New Brunswick's 2012 Birdathon
Fundraising Tips from Seattle Audubon
Environment for the Americas Walkathon
IMBD is a project of Environment for the Americas (EFTA), and was created by Partners in Flight (PIF) to focus public attention on the need for action to conserve birds and their habitats. Nature Canada is a proud partner of IMBD.