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Enjoy a day birding, helping biologists

Free bird walk happens May 10, 2014

MOAB — Novice and expert birders alike can enjoy a day spotting birds while helping biologists gather data at the Moab Bird Club's annual bird walk.

Scrub jays are among the birds you might see during the May 10 walk.

Scrub jays are among the birds you might see during the May 10 walk.

Photo by Brent Stettler

The free walk is open to the public. It will be held May 10. It starts at 8 a.m. on the Scott M. Matheson Wetlands Preserve near Moab in southeastern Utah.

At last year's event, birders tallied 45 bird species. The results were added to a national data bank, which is used to track trends in bird species around the United States. Over time, this information helps researchers track declines, up-swings and changes in the population and distribution of migratory birds.

If you'd like to participate in the May 10 event, meet at The Nature Conservancy parking lot on the preserve's south side. The lot is at 934 W. Kane Creek Blvd.

From there, bird watchers will split into small groups so they can cover as much ground as possible. Covering a lot of ground will help birders identify the diversity and abundance of birds on the preserve.

If you'd like to participate, all you need to do is show up at the event at 8 a.m. with sturdy walking shoes and any sunscreen, water and snacks you'd like to bring. "If you have some binoculars and a bird book," says Brent Stettler, "bring them with you. If not, we'll have some binoculars for you to use."

You don't have to stay for the whole event. "You can leave anytime you'd like," says Stettler, regional conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

Stettler says the event honors International Migratory Bird Day. The walk is a collaborative effort among the Moab Bird Club, The Nature Conservancy and the Division of Wildlife Resources.

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