Birder's Guide

MAY 2016

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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29 May 2016 | Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community to supporting a particular refuge, for ex- ample, the Friends of the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Birders who are interested in conservation and the preser- vation of birds should have a special inter- est in the health and well-being of the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge System. The National Wildlife Refuge System The refuge system did not develop as a carefully selected group of proper- ties with a common set of conservation goals. Rather, beginning in 1903 when President Theodore Roosevelt established Pelican Island in Florida, it developed as a patchwork of units that were later com- bined into a single system by Congress. Nonetheless, numerous refuges were es- tablished to help preserve migratory birds and lie along one of the four major North American migration fyways. Others were established to protect specifc bird species or subspecies, or species of plants or other animals. Many units are actively managed for migrating and wintering birds, particularly waterfowl. There are refuges in every state; in fact, a refuge lies within a one-hour drive from al- most every major U.S. city. These include a number of urban refuges in or near major metropolitan areas such as San Francisco, Houston, and Philadelphia. There are units in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and territories in the Pacifc Ocean. The system includes virtually all of the habitats in the United States and includes several Important Bird Areas. Because NWRs are often

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