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 also remind us of nature’s cycles.
According to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), this year the theme of World Migratory Bird Day was chosen to highlight these connections and the importance of conserving and restoring the ecological connectivity and integrity of ecosystems that support the natural cycles of migratory birds and that are essential for their survival and well-being.
Approximately 1,800 of the world’s 11,000 bird species migrate, some covering enormous distances. Because migratory birds depend on a network of sites that cross national borders along their migration routes for breeding, feeding, resting and overwintering, international action to protect them is essential.
Hundreds of virtual talks and a wave of online interactions dedicated to migratory birds are expected to take place in many countries on the day, with educational programmes being offered virtually by many organisations including schools, parks, zoos, forests, wildlife refuges, wetlands, museums and libraries.
The UN-led campaign aims to raise awareness of migratory birds and the importance of international cooperation to conserve them. It is organised by a collaborative partnership among two UN treaties – the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) – and the Colorado-based non-profit organisation, Environment for the Americas (EFTA).
The CMS aims to conserve terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range. It is an intergovernmental treaty concerned with the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale. Since the Convention’s entry into force in 1979, its membership has grown steadily to include 131 Parties from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
The AEWA is an intergovernmental treaty dedicated to the conservation of migratory waterbirds that migrate along the African-Eurasian Flyway. The Agreement covers 255 species of bird ecologically dependent on wetlands for at least part of their annual cycle. The treaty covers 119 Range States from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia and Canada. Eighty countries and the European Union have become a Contracting Party to the agreement.