Bird trail signs take flight along Highway 90 in Harrison County
GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Did you know that according to the National Fish and Wildlife Service, Mississippi has an $8 billion a year ecotourism economy? With that in mind, six bird identifier signs are located all along the beach in Harrison County.
On Friday, ribbon cutting ceremonies were held for the new Black Skimmer sign just east of Broad Avenue on U.S. 90 in Gulfport.
Audubon Mississippi has collaborated with Gulf Coast artist Tami Curtis on the artwork, while Perry Guy wrote the poetic narratives for each marker, which can be found in certain areas along the beach.
“This taught me so much about these birds, because I had to really research to find out how to portray them in their nesting sights and their feeding sights, and I just got schooled on birds, let me tell ya,” said Tami Curtis, who also has the sign portraits featured in her Bay St. Louis art gallery.
That classroom is basically all over South Mississippi, especially near the water and on the barrier islands.
“We have about two billion birds that come through this area during the spring, and about 4 billion that come through the northern Gulf Coast in the fall,” said Melinda Averhart, stewardship manager for Audubon Mississippi.
That means there’s also lots of people coming to the Coast to go bird watching, or “birding” which makes these signs even more of a draw.
“We forget that one of the real reasons we love the beach and love the Coast is because of these find feathered friends of ours, and it made me slow down and really get to know the dynamics of them and how special they are,” Curtis added.
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