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Flying in from a nearby field, an osprey returns to its nest with a cornstalk, which will be used to strengthen its nest atop a utility post in the town of Jackson. Ospreys are migratory, but most have returned to the region for the warmer months. Here, they will raise their chicks in time for an autumn return south.

Saturday was World Migratory Bird Day!

Birds are so great.

This is the time of year for spring migrations, so keep your eyes to the skies.

The theme of this year’s day was birds threatened by plastic waste.

“One third of global plastic production is non-recyclable and at least eight million tons of plastic flows unabated into our oceans and water bodies each year,” said Joyce Msuya, acting executive director of the United Nations Environment, in a news release. “It is ending up in the stomachs of birds, fish, whales, and in our soil and water. The world is choking on plastic and so too are our birds on which so much life on earth depends.”

Besides eating plastic, some birds use it as nesting material, which can trap and injure chicks.

The UN particularly focused on how discarded fishing line poses a real threat to shore birds.

In addition to keeping track of your fishing gear, the World Wildlife Fund has some tips for reducing plastic waste like using reusable coffee mugs, avoiding plastic cutlery, avoiding plastic straws and avoiding glitter. There are lots of other resources online with tips for reducing plastic use.

But Migratory Bird Day is not all about doom and gloom.

If you’re interested in participating in some birding extravaganzas, the state Department of Environmental Conservation reminded the public that it has an “I Bird NY” challenge.

More specifically, the DEC is hosting its annual “I Bird NY Beginner’s Birding Challenge,” open to anyone 16 and younger. If you want to participate, you must identify 10 common New York bird species and submit your sightings to the DEC.

More experienced? DEC has an “I Bird NY Experienced Birder Challenge.” Birders of all ages can participate, and you must identify at least 10 of 50 listed bird species.

To learn more about it, find some birding challenge sheets and look up information on bird walks and events, go to dec.ny.gov/animals/109900.html.

Happy birding!

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