The weather is warmer and it's time for thousands of birds to make their way home to Washington. Welcoming them home is a special event Saturday at the Toppenish Wildlife Refuge. An event that is unique to Yakima County.

The wildlife refuge opened up it's 2,000 acres of land to bird enthusiasts today with hay rides and bird-watching walks allowing them to see parts of the park normally closed to the public. The day is intended to bring awareness for the 300 species of birds who travel thousands of miles between South and North America every year.

Organizers say it's important for the public to understand how these birds contribute to our environment.
"Its about learning about our native wildlife," Marsha Dalan of the Raptor House said. "And mainly our bird species. And to be able to learn that there's a huge amount of birds that are here in the United States are they are here for a reason."

This bird appreciation event is the only one of its kind in all of Eastern Washington. Volunteers at the wildlife refuge say the Yakima Valley is blessed to have a great showing of migratory birds and that was on full display Saturday.

The wildlife refuge is also enjoying their 50 year anniversary. They say this is a perfect way to celebrate.