Austin designated a ‘Bird City’ – Recognition of city’s conservation efforts

Published 1:34 pm Monday, October 7, 2019

It became official on a rainy morning this past Saturday.

Minnesota Audubon recognized Austin as a Bird City, one of the 10 that are either Bird Cities already or are in the process of becoming one.

Katie Burns, outreach coordinator for Minnesota Audubon, presented a plaque and road signs to members of the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center and Austin Audubon.

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“It affirms that a lot of the decisions made in the last 40 years have been a win-win for birds,” said Terry Taylor, who led the charge to get the Bird City designation for Austin.

“I say that the 534 acres of basically restored oak savanna, plus (Austin’s) flood mitigation efforts has created what I call a bird oasis,” Taylor added. 

Larry Dolphin, another member of the Austin Audubon and former director/naturalist for the nature center, talked about the work that has been done to help make the nature center and the city of Austin a bird-friendly habitat.

It’s another milestone, he said, that marks Austin as a natural oasis in the middle of cornfields and bean fields.

“It’s a well-deserved stamp on our continued effort to grow,” Dolphin said. “We’re proud of this connection we have regarding birds at the nature center.”

What this does for the future is to continue to provide habitat for birds and other creatures, but it also acts as an example for other communities of things that can be done in their own cities.

The Bird City recognition demonstrates to these other cities what places like Austin have done to ensure good habitats.

“What I learned about Austin is that it’s already here,” Burns said regarding the work that’s been done over the years. “It’s a great example.”