World Migratory Bird Day 2012 Celebrating people and migratory birds PDF Print E-mail

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World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is celebrated each year on the second weekend of May, and provides an opportunity for birding enthusiasts and environmentalists to celebrate, protect and raise awareness for migratory birds and their habitats. Migratory birds can cross the entire globe during their journeys, ignoring national borders and connecting the world with their migration routes. 


The theme for WMBD 2012 is Migratory birds and people - together through time to stress the indispensible relationship between birds and people.  There is a clear cultural, social, historic, economic and spiritual connection between birds and people, implying an intricate relationship that connects on many different levels.  Migratory birds figure prominently in traditions, art, literature, and legends of various cultures.  Many communities rely economically on migratory birds, for instance through a growing ecotourism and birdwatching industry.  Bird migration is a crucial indicator of biodiversity, ecosystem health, changing seasons and climate change.  Migratory birds also provide essential ecological benefits and services, such as pollination, to the ecosystems we rely on to survive.


Rodrigo U. Fuentes, Executive Director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, said irresponsible human activities are major threats to the survival of migratory birds.  “Habitat destruction, unsustainable hunting, fisheries by-catch and pollution threaten migratory birds. Tall buildings, power lines and wind turbines also serve as barriers to bird migration and endanger the journeys of migratory birds.” 


Highlighting the interconnectedness between people and migratory birds should make communities more conscious of the impacts of human actions on migratory species.  Careful planning of infrastructure, reduction of pollution, and protection of habitats and flyways help protect migratory birds and will ensure that future generations can benefit and enjoy the important connections between migratory birds and people through time.


WMBD is organized by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) – two international wildlife treaties administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  For more information on migratory birds, log on to www.cms.int.