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Burgum to declare 2018 the 'Year of the Bird' in North Dakota

North Dakota's prairies and wetlands are important to a variety of migrating and breeding birds, including the Western meadowlark, the North Dakota state bird. (Photo/ North Dakota Game and Fish Department)

BISMARCK—Gov. Doug Burgum will announce 2018 as the "Year of the Bird" in North Dakota with an official proclamation set for 4:45 p.m. Wednesday in the Judicial Wing of the Capitol Building in Bismarck, Audubon Dakota said in a news release.

A social gathering, open to everyone and highlighting the work of Audubon Dakota and its partners, will follow in the North Dakota Heritage Center. The governor's proclamation will highlight the importance of North Dakota prairies and wetlands for breeding and migrating birds, including North Dakota's popular waterfowl species such Northern pintails and snow geese.

Year of the Bird is an international initiative lead by The National Audubon Society, National Geographic, BirdLife International and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, legislation responsible for ensuring healthy populations of birds of all species today.

In a news release, Audubon Dakota said Wednesday's event will highlight the conservation group's programs, including the Urban Woods and Prairies Initiative, an urban green-space program and Audubon-Conservation Ranching, an effort to enhance bird conservation efforts on rangeland while producing economically viable beef.

Burgum's proclamation also will address the global importance of North Dakota for birds and bird conservation. The state is home to over 400 species of birds, which either nest in the state or use the extensive grasslands and wetlands as stopover points during migration to sites farther north and south.

More information about Audubon Dakota and its programs is available at dakota.audubon.org.