World Migratory Bird Day
When is World Migratory Bird Day?
World Migratory Bird Day is a holiday established to protect migrating birds, as well as all of their habitats. Unlike other traditional holidays, World Migratory Bird Day is actually held over two days. It falls on the second weekend of May every year.
Why Protect Migratory Birds?
Migratory birds refers to the species that travel to other regions as seasons change. Hence, this is where the American term “south for the winter” comes from. At the season’s end, the birds flock back to their native regions.
World Migratory Bird Day was established to help protect such birds. According to the National Audubon Society, about 60 percent of all North American bird species have experienced northward shifts during migration over the last four decades. This is indicative of habitat losses from human development, as well as climate change. Without taking action to protect migratory bird habitats, many of these species will eventually die out. In turn, such a loss can devastate the ecosystems that depend on the bird species. While these statistics are based in North America, bird extinction is a world-wide problem.
History of the Holiday
World Migratory Bird Day was founded in 2006 as a holiday to help educate the public and raise awareness about the growing problems that are affecting the habitats of bird species around the world. It has since become a holiday recognized by the United Nations, and it helps organize events in numerous countries. World Migratory Bird Day was established at the height of the era in which humans were starting to understand the impacts of climate change. The mission of this holiday is to positively promote changes in human behavior that can help minimize the effects of global warming.
Since World Migratory Bird Day is held over the second weekend of May, the dates can vary. In 2014, the holiday starts on Saturday, May 10th. In 2015, the starting date is May 9th. Observing the holiday over an entire weekend gives families and bird enthusiasts alike to get outdoors and learn more about migratory birds.
Education and Celebrations
Education is at the core of World Migratory Bird Day celebrations. The number of programs and festivals continues to grow each year, the content varying by region. For example, the burrowing owl is a focus in southwest Florida. States residing along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts may focus their educational programs on the birds that depend on their shores. World Migratory Bird Day provides people the opportunity to learn about their favorite birds, and there are often bird watching tours scheduled for that weekend.
While World Migratory Bird Day can be a fun way to learn about birds and their habitats, the weekend holiday is also focused on some serious notes surrounding conservation. At events and festivals, the public can learn exactly how their native birds’ habitats are being disrupted. More importantly, participants can learn how to stop the destruction.
Each year there is a different theme surrounding World Migratory Bird Day. In 2014, the theme is: “Destination Flyways: Migratory Birds and Tourism.” The mission is to help educate the public on how tourism disrupts bird habitats, and to look for solutions to minimize such concerns.