By: Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit
Every year, World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is celebrated twice in a year. On Saturday, 9th October people all over the world will be celebrating World Migratory Bird Day to raise awareness of migratory birds and the need for international cooperation to conserve them. Firstly it is held on the Second Saturday of May and again on the Second Saturday of October. It is observed to spread awareness for the need to conserve migratory birds and their habitats. The day originated in 2006, when the United Nations decided the need to make the global population aware of the migratory linkages between regions all over the world. Since then around 118 countries have participated and hosted the event. In fact, birds are very important to life on earth. They help to pollinate plants, spread seeds, and have been part of human life for thousands of years. Unlike rats and mice, birds are not pests.
Over the past few decades, the world’s governments have endorsed many international agreements relevant to the conservation of biodiversity, demonstrating their willingness to cooperate in tackling important environmental issues. The challenge now is to harness this commitment and ensure that concrete actions are taken where they are most needed. In several countries, the engagement of civil society and indigenous peoples’ organisations has resulted in impressive progress. There are signs of increasing action in the private sector, too.
Birds can be found everywhere: in cities and in the countryside; in parks and backyards, in forests and mountains, and in wetlands and along the shores. They connect all these habitats and they connect us, reminding us of our own connection to the planet, the environment, wildlife and each other. Through their seasonal movements, migratory birds are also regularly reminding us of nature’s cycles. In other words, birds are nature’s ambassadors. So, it becomes imperative to restore the ecological connectivity and integrity to boost the natural movements of the migratory birds. These are important to ensure migratory birds’ survival and well-being. The number of migratory birds is decreasing with each passing day due to various threats including illegal killing, destruction of natural habitat, and toxins released in the environment. As migratory birds connect nations, people, and ecosystems, World Migratory Bird Day highlights creating more measures for their conservation. Its aim is to safeguard breeding, non-breeding and ensure a healthy bird population. Today, one in eight bird species is threatened with global extinction, with 189 species.
Migration is a perilous journey and involves a wide range of threats, often caused by human activities. Climate change, habitat loss, plastic pollution are just a few of the diverse threats that the birds face. As migratory birds depend on a range of sites along their distribution area, the loss of wintering and stopover sites could have a dramatic impact on the birds’ chances of survival. Most birds migrate at night. They have been doing this for eons, as a night sky typically means calmer air space and fewer predators. Nocturnally migrating birds include ducks and geese, plovers and sandpipers, and songbirds of all kinds. These birds may travel thousands of miles between their breeding and non- breeding grounds.
World Migratory Bird Day 2022 is therefore not only a celebration of birds, it is also an important moment to reflect on our own global relationship with nature and to highlight our collective desire to do more to protect birds and nature in a post-pandemic world. Bird day is not just a day. Celebrate our migratory birds 365 days a year.
Let us enjoy and appreciate the beauty of migratory birds
By: Vinod Chandrashekhar Dixit