Western Water News

Mayor Williams Declares 2018 the Year of the Bird in Phoenix

Phoenix, named for a mythical bird, is home to hundreds of real bird species

PHOENIX – Today, Mayor Thelda Williams declared 2018 the Year of the Bird in Phoenix, the nation’s fifth largest city. The declaration celebrates native and migratory birds making their way through Phoenix and the remarkable landscapes and water resources that support them.

"Phoenix’s desert parks and mountain preserves offer opportunity for residents and tourists to enjoy the natural environment and the incredible bird species that inhabit or pass through the area," Mayor Williams said. "Audubon Arizona, headquartered in Phoenix, does an excellent job advocating for birds and the places they need, including the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area along the Salt River—a true gem in Phoenix."

The Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center is a nature center in the heart of the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area—a 600-acre park space in the iconic Salt River corridor. Located less than two miles from downtown Phoenix, the Center is a gateway to a lush Sonoran riverside habitat used by more than 200 species of birds and other wildlife, including the Cactus Wren, Arizona’s state bird.

Each year, 1.6 million residents and tourists participate in wildlife watching in Arizona, contributing more than $800 million in direct retail sales. Wildlife watchers are responsible for nearly 13,000 jobs, and have a total economic output of $1.4 billion for the Grand Canyon State. In September, the Governor signed a proclamation honoring the Year of the Bird in Arizona.

Year of the Bird highlights that public opinion continues to show that an overwhelming number of Arizonans support conservation and the protection of natural resources—something that both people and birds need. In a recent poll, 94% of Arizonans surveyed said the Colorado River is “a national treasure that should be protected.”

“In an arid state, healthy rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs are critical places for birds and other wildlife to eat and rest. They’re also critical for the economies of local communities and the state as a whole,” said Sonia Perillo, Audubon Arizona’s Executive Director. “I want to thank Mayor Williams and the City of Phoenix for recognizing the Year of the Bird.”

In addition to the proclamation in Phoenix, people all over the world are celebrating 2018 as Year of the Bird. This year marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), one of the oldest wildlife protection laws in the United States. In honor of this milestone, National Geographic, Audubon, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, BirdLife International, and dozens of other partners around the world joined forces to celebrate 2018 as the Year of the Bird.

To learn more about Year of the Bird, visit: https://www.audubon.org/yearofthebird.

About Audubon:

The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using, science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more and how to help at www.audubon.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @audubonsociety. To learn more about Audubon’s Western Water Initiative, visit: www.audubon.org/westernwater.

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Contacts:

Joey Kahn, jkahn@audubon.org, (480) 788-2416

Raquel Estupinan, raquel.estupinan@phoenix.gov​, (602) 261-8823

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