AUGUSTA – Bird watchers and bird hunters alike know that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife places bands on migratory birds to track their movements and population status. Now IF&W has made available a band for bird enthusiasts to show their support for the Department's bird conservation efforts – and to help them recover lost binoculars.
The Maine Birder Band was designed by Steve Walker and Judy Camuso, both IF&W biologists and avid bird watchers. The metal circular band – about the circumference of a small ring – can be worn on binocular/optic straps or similar field gear. It carries the IF&W insignia, a registration number that is assigned to the wearer, and a number to call if someone finds lost binoculars/optics that belong to the registrant. IF&W will notify the person that his or her gear was located.
Maine is the first state to create such a voluntary program for birders to officially register their support with their state wildlife department. In the first two weeks of the program, wildlife enthusiasts from 10 Maine counties and five states have participated.
A $20 contribution gets you a 2009 series Birder Band. Proceeds go to IF&W's Non-Game and Endangered Species Fund.
"The Wildlife Division of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife takes seriously its efforts to protect Maine's birds and bird habitat and to provide access to bird watchers," said Commissioner Roland "Danny" Martin. "The Maine Birder Band is a unique way for birders and other wildlife watchers to proudly display their support in our bird conservation program."
Bird watching is a fast growing outdoor activity in Maine, and many of the top birding destinations throughout the state are part of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife's 100,000-plus-acre network of Wildlife Management Areas. These areas include: Kennebunk Plains, Scarborough Marsh, Brownfield Bog, Weskeag Marsh, Caribou Bog and Messalonskee Lake.
"Many birders do not buy hunting or fishing licenses but want to contribute to the conservation efforts of the Department," Walker said. "The Maine Birder Band was designed as a way for this growing constituency of wildlife watchers to help support the resource."
To participate in the Maine Birder Band program, visit IF&W's Web site at www.mefishwildlife.com.
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