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Ding Darling Days

‘Ding’ Days celebrates 2016 Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial #birdyear

In addition to celebrating Jay N. “Ding” Darling’s 140th birthday and National Wildlife Refuge Week, this year’s “Ding” Darling Days, Oct. 16-22, celebrates the centennial of the convention between the United States and Great Britain (representing Canada) for the protection of migratory birds. Also called the Migratory Bird Treaty, it was signed on Aug. 16, 1916.

The 27th annual “Ding” Days at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Fla., will focus on all things “birds.”

“That’s not at all difficult, since the refuge is known worldwide for its more than 250 bird species,” said Toni Westland, supervisory refuge ranger and committee co-chair for “Ding” Days. “We urge bird – and refuge- lovers to share the #birdyear hashtag on their social media postings throughout the year.”

Family Fun Day, which traditionally kicks off the week with free activities, will feature live bird presentations on Sunday, Oct. 16. Other highlights include all-free refuge tours, archery clinics, hot dogs, a touch tank and butterfly house, Jim Sprankle bird-carving demos, and kids’ nature crafts and bird games.

Free programs throughout the week will address bird topics such as the refuge’s reddish egret study and the history of the “feather wars” plume trade. On Thursday, Oct. 20, an International Bird Film Festival will air throughout the day. The refuge and Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge’s recreation concession, will be conducting birding tours and other free and discounted excursions weeklong.

On Friday, Oct. 21, Darling’s official birthday, the refuge invites the public for free birthday cake and the showing of the “America’s Darling” documentary film starting at 11 a.m.

Conservation Art Day winds up the celebration on Saturday, Oct. 22, with visits from four-time and current Federal Duck Stamp winner Joe Hautman and federal and state Junior Duck Stamp winners. Nature art workshops include a photography tram along Wildlife Drive.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS), and Tarpon Bay Explorers cosponsor “Ding” Darling Days with generous support from the local community and businesses.

Watch for updates on events, information on sponsoring “Ding” Days, or to sign up for e-mail update bulletins.


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