World Migratory Bird Day festival raising awareness and promoting conservation

Bird at Montana Wild
Posted at 1:57 PM, May 07, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-07 15:57:17-04

HELENA — Montana Wild joined in a worldwide celebration of birds on World Migratory Bird Day.

"It's just a way to expose people and hope that they have enjoyment and maybe have some appreciation," said Denise Pengeroth, a wildlife biologist for the Helena – Lewis and Clark National Forest.

World Migratory Bird Day festival

She brought the Migratory Bird Day festival to Helena 21 years ago.

"I only had the little tiny idea – it was everybody's energy that has made this what it is," said Pengeroth.

The festival is a partnership with organizations and businesses throughout the community, like the Forest Service, Birds & Beasleys, Prickly Pear Land Trust, and Last Chance Community Powwow, to name a few.

Powwow dancer

Pengeroth said, "Many hands make light work."

Montana Wild employee holding a snake

The World Migratory Bird Day festival is part of the international organization Environment for the Americas.

Each year has a theme, and this year is "Protect insects, protect birds."

"For birds, they're food, and birds are really important in helping keep insects controlled," said Pengeroth.

The Helena festival had roughly 20 activities for attendees to enjoy, including bird corn hole, making bird track imprints and building birdhouses and feeders to take home.

Sisters playing cornhole

One attendee, Paige Trettin, said, "We needed a drill, nails, and wood, and the lady helped me put it together."

She came to the festival with her family.

I asked her what bird she likes best.

"Robin, because they have a pretty belly," said Trettin.

Aside from bringing the community and families together, the festival's primary goal is to inform the public about the importance of birds.

Owl at Montana Wild

Pengeroth said, "Birds are pollinators, and if we don't have pollinators, we don't have oranges or orange juice. Maybe, more importantly, we don't have coffee. So, who doesn't want coffee?"

Most birds should have migrated back to Montana by June.