World Migratory Bird Day – 13th May
We see them around us at almost all hours of the day, and some even at night, but very few know about the importance of conserving birds and the threats our modern-day world poses to them. World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated annually for the very same cause – “To spread awareness about the importance of birds, the need for conservation to maintain ecological balance and to bring all countries of the world together in an attempt to reduce the threats posed to these migrating birds every year.”
This event is celebrated across the world on the 13th of May with several regions celebrating it through bird watching excursions, exhibitions, bird festivals and education programs.
Why celebrate it?
In a world struggling to cope with technological revolutions, pollution and over-population, World Migratory Bird day becomes a vital opportunity to learn more about our world and help save species of birds vital to our survival.
Here are a few amazing facts you may not have known about birds migrating around the world :-
Travelling the long route – Migratory birds travel up to 16,000 miles, travelling for upto 70 days to reach their destination. Birds specifically travel these long distances from cold countries to the warmer parts of the world where food and temperatures favour their growth and survival. The ARCTIC TERN covers upto 44,000 miles (70,900 Kms).
A dangerous journey – In the United States alone, up to one billion birds die each year from window collisions, and approximately seven million die from striking TV and radio towers in North America annually. With increasing number of human settlements, wind turbines, bridges etc, the chances of such accidents increase greatly and thus it is important to keep the migratory routes of these birds clear.
Going up to greater heights –The BAR-HEADED GEESE are the highest flying birds, often soaring above the Himalayas at heights of five and a half miles above sea level.
There are more than we think – At least 4,000 species of bird are regular migrants, which is about 40 percent of the total number of birds in the world. During the cold winters you may seem large flocks of these birds flying in a V-Pattern across the sky towards warmer and greener parts of the country.
The right way back home – Instinctively, migrating birds know where to migrate and how to navigate back home. They use the stars, the sun, and earth’s magnetism to help them find their way.
Our own Indian birds – India plays host to hundred species of birds every year like the BLUETHROAT and the WHITE/YELLOW WAGTAILS. You may spot birds from Mongolia, Siberia and Europe.
Non-flying birds migrate too – The EMUS from Australia walk for miles to find food and PENGUINS of Antarctica swim across large channel for the same. Despite the perilous cold, penguins struggle against freezing temperatures and cold storms to get food and come back to their families when the new babies are just born.