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Austin recognized for bird conservation efforts

AUSTIN, Minn. (FOX 47) – Austin received a special honor this past weekend, being recognized by Audubon Minnesota as the state’s newest Bird City.

This distinction is for the few cities in the state that have improved bird habitats, reduced threats and engaged citizens in conservation action.

Austin’s Jay C. Hormel Nature Center provides a habitat for birds as well as educational opportunities for visitors.

In addition to the land at the nature center, the city of Austin has also bought flood properties along waterways.

“Some have been left more natural which provides nice habitats for birds. They use these river and streams as corridors to fly up and down,” said nature center director Luke Reese.

The types of birds seen in Austin changes with the seasons but the presence of certain species is a direct result of the restoration of the land.

“The work we’re doing should be improving the habitat for redheaded woodpecker so I’ve had my eye open for more of those around,” Reese said.

With more than 500 acres of natural restored habitat, the Hormel Nature Center is a perfect place to go bird watching.

“We’re always trying to improve their habitat, get rid of invasive species, fix erosion issues, find more land that might work for restoration,” said Reese.

There are also things that people can do at home.

“For migrating birds, there’s been a lot of habitat lost so when they’re migrating, they’re looking for sources of food,” Reese said. “Feeders in yards can help a lot.”

The nature center also helps when there is a report of an injured raptor by working with local vets and the raptor center in St. Paul. To reduce injuries, it has made the building’s glass with a pattern to reduce bird’s flying into it.

If you would like to bird proof your glass at home or learn more about what to add to your bird feeder, you can contact the nature center or Austin Audubon Society for more information.

Alex Tejada

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