Connecting People of Color to Nature Through Birding

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Members of the Masonville Cove Partnership, including the Service’s urban biologist Ela Carpenter, worked with non-profit organization Birds of Urban Baltimore and BlackAFinSTEM to put on a Black Birders Week celebration at Masonville Cove in Baltimore Maryland. 

On the mornings of Friday May 31 and Saturday June 1, the bird banding station was used to show visitors how urban greenspaces support migratory and resident birds as well as seeing the bird banding process up-close. Dara Miles, one of the national organizers for BAFIS who attended the first morning also joined Masonville Cove Partnership members for a short birding walk around the campus afterwards.

Over both mornings approximately ​19 birds from ​15 species were banded. This included common resident species as well as a recapture of a previously banded orchard oriole and the banding station's first great crested flycatcher and mourning warbler. 

In between banding sessions, participants participated in birdwatching and had conversations about how Masonville Cove became the nation’s first urban wildlife refuge partnership, the origin of Black Birders Week, and the importance (and joy!) of events like this for people of color to celebrate being in the outdoors together. 

Visitors from Maryland Environmental Service, the Baltimore Bird Club, and Birds of Urban Baltimore shared additional birding and banding opportunities to make birding more inclusive. Several participants later created social media content about their new birding experience and some signed up to become bird banding volunteers for the fall season.

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Bird banding

Recreational Activities