More than 300 guests flock to annual Bird Day celebration

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Hundreds of children, parents, and naturalists of all ages turned out for an engaging afternoon featuring games, crafting, prizes and rehabilitated bird encounters during Tropical Audubon’s 10th annual Bird Day held at the society’s Steinberg Nature Center grounds on Saturday, Feb. 17.

By 4 p.m., 300-plus visitors and 40-plus volunteers had visited the non-profit’s 2.2-acre near-native campus that comprises the conservation organization’s headquarters. The enriching activities enabled participants of every age to learn about bird protection programs, native habitat gardening and bird identification.

This year’s Bird Day was dedicated to the late Lewis “Brother” Milledge, who founded the event in his role as TAS Education & Grounds chair.

Celebrated annually and now chaired by TAS Education & Advocacy director Stephanie Clements, Bird Day celebrates the late winter/early spring northbound flight of nearly 350 species of migratory birds stopping over in South Florida as they return to their North American nesting grounds from points south.

To monitor their migration for science, TAS Field Trip coordinator Brian Rapoza mentored attendees about how to participate that same weekend in the nation’s Great Backyard Bird Count, leading a mini bird walk primer on the wooded grounds.

Attendees of every age were enthralled by the release of a rehabilitated Red-shouldered Hawk by Wildlife Rescue of Dade County’s Jemma Peterson. It had been rescued after ingesting rat poison and nursed back to health by capable Wildlife Rescue volunteers who help rehabilitate injured birds of prey and other native wildlife.

Pelican Harbor Seabird Station’s Rossella Dallo brought rescued Eastern Screech Owl “Mowgli” to educate curious children.

Many of the day’s visitors tried their hand at Owl Pellet dissection, Nature Journaling and crafting Piping Plover “chicks.” Others honed their binocular skills with loaner binoculars from Leica Store Miami. Kids also “ate like birds” and explored the nature trails that thread the Tropical Hardwood Hammock and Pine Rockland demonstration forests; their parents took tours of the historic 1932 Doc Thomas House.

The Tropical Audubon Society is located at 5530 Sunset Dr., Miami, FL 33143; phone 305-667-7337 or visit




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