UN Observance of World Migratory Bird Day: April 11, 2014

Today we celebrate World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD).

shutterstock_67075645_smallWMBD 2014 will be celebrated this weekend and is being organized by the Secretariats of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) – two international wildlife treaties administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – as well as other partners.

Previous events:

In 2013, over 350 separate awareness-raising events were held in 88 countries to mark WMBD 2013.

What is World Migratory Bird Day?

During WMBD, attention will be drawn to migratory birds and the need to conserve them, through activities such as; bird festivals, bird watching trips, public discussions, exhibitions, presentations, bird rallies and other educational and public events. WMBD is a global initiative devoted to celebrating migratory birds and to promoting their conservation worldwide.

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What is the theme for 2014?

This year the theme will be linked to the topic of tourism and migratory birds, focusing on the global bird and wildlife watching industry and sustainable tourism as a vehicle to conserve migratory birds and their habitats. WMBD plans to work closely with the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in promoting the ‘Destination Flyways’ project, which focuses on the protection of migratory birds and their habitats and the creation of sustainable livelihoods for local communities through the development of innovative tourism products along the world’s major flyways. Please click here for more information.

 Why is the conservation of birds so important?

Birds are important in maintaining the Earth’s biological diversity, providing services to the ecosystem, teaching us appreciation of nature, raising awareness of environmental issues and educating us in many facets of life. They accomplish many functions including: controlling rodent and insect populations, are extremely efficient pest controllers by shifting their foraging locations and behavior in response to an insect outbreak, help with seed dispersal, increase forest growth and conservation,  and warn us of impending environmental issues. Climatologists themselves study bird migration patterns to gather insight on seasonal climate change, and aeronautical engineers have and continue to design airplanes based on the natural aerodynamics observed in birds. For more information please click here.

 Raising awareness – the key to bird conservation

Raising public awareness and concern are crucial components of migratory bird conservation. Citizens who are enthusiastic about birds, informed about threats, and empowered to become involved in addressing those threats, can make a tremendous contribution to maintaining healthy bird populations. By modeling what can be done and involving people, their interest and involvement in stewardship can grow. One of the most successful vehicles for public education on migratory birds is International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD).  Across the Americas Bird Day events are providing great ways for people to get involved. Click here for more information.

 Efforts to preserve migratory birds in the Dominican Republic:

shutterstock_139726438_smallThe Dominican Republic has over 300 species of birds, including the parrot. Most Dominicans are familiar with parrots as captive animals, but few have seen them in the wild. Consequently Grupo Jaragua (BirdLife in the Dominican Republic) has been working with a Local Conservation Group (LCG) from the Jaragua National Park IBA to design a ‘parrot trail’ that enables visitors to encounter parrots in the wild. It is hoped that by seeing wild parrots, often for the first time, visitors will be made aware that ‘pet’ parrots are sourced from wild populations and from natural habitats which are both at risk. Please click here for more information.

 Tips – what you can do to help migratory bird conservation:

–          Around the Home: Put up a bird house (with proper ventilation) in your yard. More than two dozen different bird species including the purple martin, house wren, and eastern bluebird will nest in bird houses. As more and more habitat disappears every year, birds have fewer places to nest each spring;

–          When hiking, biking, going to the beach, or camping, stay on the trails and respect restricted sections of sensitive natural areas, especially during nesting season. Also, keep dogs on leashes;

–          Learn to identify the common birds of your neighborhood, and teach local young people the value of birds and other wildlife.

 

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