Mississippi Flyway Fall Migration Tour touches down in St. Louis

During the months of October and November, staff from the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Campaign will be making stops along the Mississippi River, talking with people about the importance of the Mississippi River Delta to birds migrating along the flyway this fall. In today’s post, National Audubon Society’s Sean Saville tells readers about attending the Breakfast with the Birds event in St. Louis, why the delta is important to birders there, and his vision for restoration.

By Sean Saville, National Field Director, National Audubon Society

Standing near St. Louis at the confluence of the two largest rivers in America, the Mississippi and the Missouri, I’m reminded just how important and special this particular place is. Not only is it a major hub of shipping and river industry for the whole river system, but it is an incredibly rich and diverse ecosystem comprised of marsh, bottomland forest, wetland and prairie that is home to a stunning array of wildlife, especially birds.

Breakfast with the Birds event flyer. Click to see full size.

We had the pleasure of witnessing the spectacle of fall migration at this special place, and the group that had gathered with us Saturday morning at the Audubon Center at Riverlands was all too aware of the significance of what they were viewing. We saw a pair of Northern Harrier, many Blue-winged teal, Shovelers, American white pelican, a Franklin’s gull and a few Red-winged blackbirds, to name a few. The birds knew this is a special place, too, and had stopped in to take advantage of the food and resources here on their way south along the Mississippi Flyway to their wintering grounds.

The folks that had gotten up early to be here had also come to hear about what they could do to help advocate for restoration of the Mississippi River Delta, because people who live this close to the river know that the whole system is connected. As someone in the group said: “We all live downstream, and what we do here affects everyone else further down the river.” This mentality and appreciation of the interconnectedness of communities up and down the river is refreshing, and a great example for the rest of the country.

I bid farewell to this special place and to my gracious hosts with a sense that if we could just get everyone to come and see a place like this and feel a part of something greater, then our work to protect the vitality of the Mississippi River Delta and flyway would be a lot simpler.

To learn more about future Fall Migration Tour events, please visit: http://www.mississippiriverdelta.org/take-action/fall-2012-migration-tour/