On May 5th, 2017 Springfield, MA became the 27th Urban Migratory Bird City in America. At a signing ceremony at the Springfield Science Museum, the city’s Mayor Dominic J. Sarno signed an Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds along with key partners such as The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service and ReGreen Springfield. Kristen Sykes, AMC’s Director of Conservation Strategies and Advocacy Chair for the Friends of Conte signed on behalf of the Friends. The ceremony kicked off the 2017 Valley Bird Week and launched the habitat restoration and educational efforts that are outlined in the Urban Bird Treat. The Urban Bird Treaty program brings together municipal governments and other public and private partners to conserve birds that live in or migrate through their cities.
Springfield is one of the major cities within the Silvio O. Conte U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge and the 410-mile Connecticut River Watershed. AMC has been working with the Friends of Conte to increase land conservation and recreation in the Refuge. Habitats within the Connecticut River watershed support over 200 bird species throughout the year. The watershed also serves as one of the major migration corridors within the Atlantic Flyway and provides nesting habitat for important birds such as the wood thrush and Bicknell’s thrush and the Canada warbler. The watershed also provides grassland and shrubland habitat for the American woodcock and globally significant populations of the nesting saltmarsh sparrow.
Under this designation, ReGreen Springfield will receive $46,400 to work with partners and volunteers to enhance bird stopover and nesting habitat in Springfield communities and open spaces. Projects funded under the program will make restoration and habitat improvements for resident and migratory birds, creating a network of “Neighborhood Habitat Refuges” in strategic locations in the city. Two such projects include creating a wildlife garden at the Springfield Science Museum and designing a Springfield birding trail map to encourage additional opportunities for the public to enjoy the birds of Springfield. These efforts will strengthen relationships among school groups, community groups, private residents and organizations committed to enhancing Springfield’s natural areas and conserving bird habitat.
Kristen Sykes, Director of Conservation Strategies