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Training the Next Generation

The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center is passionate about helping the public understand the wonders of migratory birds.

The Bridging the Americas program connects second- through fourth-graders in the U.S. with students in Latin America through the migratory birds that fly between their nations. More than 30,000 students from the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, the British Virgin Islands and Ecuador have participated since 1993. SMBC offers an extensive collection of resources for K-12 teachers and fun activities for kids. Many resources are also available in Spanish, because many birds travel to Spanish-speaking countries.

SMBC has also put a twist on its citizen science program, Neighborhood Nestwatch, bringing it to underserved schools in cities. Through Urban Nestwatch, students learn about birds around their school while helping scientists collect data about birds in urban environments.

The SMBC team engages the broader public through annual events, such as International Migratory Bird Day, as well as through membership in the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Club and by producing print and online publications.

Did you know some migratory birds fly more than 10,000 miles one way? Learn what propels these migrants each year, as well as specific issues threatening their long-term survival, in this Neotropical Migratory Bird FAQ.

A gray catbird with a bird band
Spanish-language resources on migratory birds, including fact sheets, species profiles and more.
A Kirtland's warbler songbird perched on a branch
Learn about migratory birds with these resources, including fact sheets, species profiles and more.
Gray catbird with colored band around its ankle. The bird is being held by a scientist
Scientists at the Zoo demonstrate bird banding, one of the primary methods used to study wild birds.
Child learning about migratory birds
Students in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. connect with students in Latin America to learn about birds. 
An aerial photo of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia
Learn more about bird courses offered by the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation.
a black-crowned night heron perched on a branch
Read this Spanish-language informational series on issues critical to migratory bird conservation.
two small brightly-colored birds
Habitats along the U.S. coast of the Gulf of Mexico provide critical resources for North America's migratory birds.
A group of students standing on a grassy mountaintop overlooking trees and a skyline
Underrepresented undergraduate students from UCSB and local community colleges can experience a full year of STEM activities.
A colorful painted bunting bird standing on the ground
Unidos por las Aves es un programa intercultural de educación ambiental que vincula a clases de escuela primaria y secundaria de los Estados Unidos con clases en Latinoamérica y el Caribe por medio del intercambio de dibujos, cartas y otros materiales centrados en las aves migratorias neotropicales.