CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center is closing out their Big Year of Birding Saturday, Dec. 16, with Our Big Year: Birdy Celebration from 1 to 4 p.m. All ages are invited to enjoy a last birding hurrah for 2017. For birders, a “Big Year” is a year designated to identifying as many birds as possible throughout the year. Jordi Raos, a naturalist at the center, said some participants in the big year have identified and logged more than 200 bird species.
“Although our Big Year ends this month, we’ve really enjoyed getting people excited about birding,” said Jordi Raos, a MDC naturalist. “We’ve been amazed at the response and at our own personal improvements in birding. Even though I like birds, I was never a great birder but now I feel more confident and enjoy going out looking for birds.”
The Birdy Celebration will feature crafts, games, snacks, prize drawings, and programs at 1:30 and 2:30 pm. The scheduled programs will focus on birding tips and include a fun bird identification challenge. This event will be the final “Our Big Year” program at the nature center, but Raos hopes participants will use their new birding skills to continue the activity for many years to come.
“December is a fantastic time to continue birding, many ducks and geese come to our state in the winter and you can easily see them here in southern Missouri. Stop by Duck Creek or Ten Mile Pond conservation areas to see a variety of waterfowl,” Raos said. “If you haven’t joined us for Our Big Year, our birding activity, there is still time. Come to our celebration and pick up a booklet and finish out the year seeing new and old birds.”
This and all other programs at the Cape Nature Center are free, thanks to the 1/8th of 1% state conservation sales tax. The Cape Nature Center boasts a 160-seat auditorium, three classrooms, hands-on exhibits for all ages, a scientific research laboratory, freshwater aquariums, and an indoor wildlife-viewing area. The center is located inside Cape Girardeau's North County Park, just east of Interstate 55 (Exit 99) and Kingshighway (State Highway 61).
No reservations are required for this program and all ages are welcome. More information on this and other programs can be found at www.mdc.mo.gov/CapeNatureCenter.