Also referred to as World Migratory Bird Day or just simply Bird Day, it is perhaps one of the most important days of the year for birders across North America. Celebrated by both Americans and Canadians on the second weekend of May each year, this year’s edition is extra special considering 2018 is Year of the Bird.
Given the increase of serious threats to birds here in North America and around the world, there has never been a better reason to not only celebrate birds but to increase measures to ensure their protection for many years to come.
Additionally, 2018 marks the 100-year anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), which as many of you know, is perhaps the most important and pivotal pieces of legislation ever written for our migratory bird species.
Originally created by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in 1993, International Migratory Bird Day is celebrating 25 years of educating the public on the importance of our migratory bird species. The event has been coordinated by Environment for the Americas (EFTA) since 2007 and this year joined the Convention on Migratory Species and the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Water Birds.
Together, this alliance is now the single largest global bird conservation and education campaign, hence the recent name; World Migratory Bird Day.
When Is World Migratory Bird Day?
For those of us here in Canada and the United States, it officially takes place on the second Saturday in May or in this year’s case, Saturday, May 12, 2018. For those in Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America, the event is celebrated in October when our migratory species arrive in their wintering grounds.
What to Do on World Migratory Bird Day
This is perhaps the easiest question to answer; get out there and enjoy the birds and everything they have to offer. This day is about reconnecting with our birds and the outdoor world and is one birders across the United States and Canada can enjoy on their own or with family and friends.
In addition to getting out in the field, it is also a great opportunity to raise awareness in your community about the threats our birds face on a daily basis. In addition to climate change, pesticide use and other factors, there are still millions of birds killed each and every year from window collisions.
While most businesses, municipalities, and homeowners are coming around to either designing bird-friendly windows or installing proper window treatments to keep our birds alive, this is still one of the biggest threats our migratory birds face.