World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. It has a global outreach and is an effective tool to help raise global awareness of the threats faced by migratory birds, their ecological importance, and the need for international cooperation to conserve them. WMBD is organized by a collaborative partnership among two UN treaties -the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) -and the non-profit organization, Environment for the Americas (EFTA).
The theme for 2021 is “Sing, Fly, Soar – Like a Bird!“. The campaign will focus on the phenomena of “bird song” and “bird flight” as a way to inspire and connect people of all ages around the world in their shared desire to celebrate migratory birds and to unite in a common, global effort to protect birds and the habitats they need to survive. The theme is an invitation to people everywhere to connect and re-connect with nature by actively listening to – and watching birds – wherever they are. At the same time the theme appeals to people around the world to use their own voices and creativity to express their shared appreciation of birds and nature.
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 are also regularly reminding us of nature’s cycles.
As global ambassadors of nature, migratory birds not only connect different places across the planet, they also re-connect people to nature and to themselves like no other animals on the planet. In fact, billions of migratory birds have continued to sing, fly and soar between their breeding and non-breeding sites. During the pandemic, which slowed down many activities by limiting our movements, people across the world have been listening to and watching birds like never before. For many people around the world, bird song has also been a source of comfort and joy during the pandemic, connecting people to each other and to nature as they remain in place.
Scientists around the world have also been studying the impact the pandemic is having on birds and other wildlife, looking at how “the anthropause” – the so-called global shutdown in human activity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic – has effected birds and other wildlife around the world. At the same time, scientists have also been looking at the positive health benefits of birds and nature on humans. Clearly, the pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge for humankind. At the same time, it has also brought a whole new level of awareness and appreciation of birds and the importance of nature for our own well-being.
World Migratory Bird Day 2021 is therefore not only a celebration of birds, it is also an important moment to reflect on our own global relationship with nature and to highlight our collective desire to do more to protect birds and nature in a post-pandemic world.
Migratory birds connect us with their unique songs and flights, and remind us of the importance of working together, across borders, to protect them.
Key message for World Migratory Bird Day 2021
Protecting Migratory Birds from Geneva
Migration is a perilous journey and involves a wide range of threats, often caused by human activities. Climate change, habitat loss, plastic pollution are just a few of the diverse threats that the birds face. As migratory birds depend on a range of sites along their distribution area, the loss of wintering and stopover sites could have a dramatic impact on the birds’ chances of survival. Flying long distances involves crossing many borders between countries with differing environmental politics, legislation and conservation measures. Thus, international cooperation among governments, NGOs and other stakeholders is required along the entire flyway of a species in order to share knowledge and to coordinate conservation efforts. The legal framework and coordinating instruments necessary for such cooperation is provided by multilateral environmental agreements such as CMS and AEWA.
Switzerland is of particular importance as a wintering and resting place for various migratory waterbird species. The Geneva region contains some important ecosystems for migratory birds, with several protected areas of international and national importance. The region also hosts many international organizations and local associations who are active in protecting bird species. Learn more in our update below.
Join WMBD 2021
Express your talent and share with the world how birds inspire you, as part of the global campaign for WMBD.
The eBird app helps you explore birds and hotspots near you. By recording your sighting, you can also contribute to advance science and conservation.
Join the bird observation activities hosted by BirdLife International all across Europe on 2-3 October.