World Migratory Bird Day was initiated in 2006 and is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the protection of migratory birds and their habitats. World Migratory Bird Day is jointly organized by the Secretariats of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) – two international wildlife treaties administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – and a growing number of partners. This year’s campaign is financially supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).
Ecological Networks for Migratory Birds
Migratory birds travel huge distances along their migration routes, sometimes even tens of thousands of kilometres. This year’s World Migratory Bird Day theme “Networking for migratory birds” highlights the importance of networks of sites for migratory birds along their migration routes. These connected sites act like ‘stepping stones’ birds use to migrate and are important for resting, feeding, breeding and wintering.
Many sites that birds depend on are under threat from human activities, thereby posing a grave risk to migratory bird species. Direct human activities such as land reclamation and deforestation, as well as indirect human influences such as climate change, damage these sites through habitat fragmentation and degradation. Large numbers of important sites have already been damaged, or lost entirely. The conservation of these sites is crucial for the protection of avian migratory species.
Working Together to Conserve Migratory Birds
This year’s theme also highlights the importance of networking and connecting globally amongst governments, conservation organizations and dedicated people to conserve migratory birds. Joint action in the form of international cooperation is needed, since conservation efforts in one country can be completely jeopardized by the loss of a single site in another area or country. World Migratory Bird Day aims to encourage the international community that shares migratory birds – governments, conservation organizations and dedicated people alike – to further work together to conserve migratory birds.
One of the aims of the World Migratory Bird Day is to celebrate, conserve and raise awareness of migratory birds by holding bird-watching events, educational programmes, lectures, art exhibitions, competitions, campaigns on Facebook and Twitter and other public events. In 2012 alone, over 250 events in 118 countries were celebrated for World Migratory Bird Day.