Utah has long been known as a resting place for migrating bird species, however this year it’s receiving special recognition as the Utah government declares May the Month of the Bird. Officials say that May is an ideal month to do this because of the migratory patterns of birds.
“This is the centennial year of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act” said Skye Sieber, an outreach associate for the National Audubon Society. “It’s one of our oldest conservation laws in the United States.”
In partnership with agencies such as National Geographic and The Nature Conservancy, she says Utah is hosting events to share the importance of birds in our ecosystems.
“Birds provide a number of services to humans that we may not even realize," Sieber said. "They help pollinate plants, disperse seeds. They help control pests such as harmful insects and invasive fish. So there’s a lot of things that they do to help keep our natural world around us in balance.”
And Utah is uniquely situated in the path of the central and pacific flyways used by many migrating birds. A large variety of these species can be seen around the Great Salt Lake.
“The Great Salt Lake is the largest terminal lake in the western hemisphere and also the fourth largest in the world” said Nathan Schwebach, communications director for the Utah Department of Natural Resources. “And because of its proximity and location, it serves as an ideal resting and staging area for millions of bird annually.”
If you’re out birding this month along the Great Salt Lake, Sieber suggests looking for shorebird species such as the American Avocet and Western Sandpiper.