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May 8th Is World Migratory Bird Day

May 1, 2022

If you love birds, here’s some news: May 8th is World Migratory Bird Day! This celebratory event is the signature program of Environment for the Americas, which is the only international program that celebrates and educates people about the migration of nearly 350 species of migratory birds. 

Each year World Migratory Bird Day explores an important aspect of bird migration and conservation, and this year the focus is on artificial light. Read on to learn about this special day and how you can get involved. 

History of World Migratory Bird Day

The United States is credited with the idea for designating a day for migratory birds in 1993, which is when the International Migratory Bird Day was first established. Several organizations, including the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, were involved in the effort to support education programs across the Americas. 

World Migratory Bird Day works to spread awareness about migratory birds and the journeys they take between their summer and winter homes. Organizations across the globe celebrate this event by hosting bird festivals, bird walks, and addressing issues that affect these birds.

Focus for 2022: Artificial Light

This year, the sponsors of World Migratory Bird Day are shining a light on the effects light pollution has on the flight of migratory birds. Birds, such as sandpipers, ducks, geese, and plovers migrate to move from areas that have dwindling resources to more verdant areas that can accommodate their food and nesting needs. 

Most of these birds migrate at night to enjoy a calmer air space and avoid predators. Many species travel thousands of miles on their journeys. 

Unfortunately, the increasing presence of artificial light cast by infrastructures, businesses, and homes can attract and disorient the birds and throw them off course. Consequently, flocks of birds often end up in areas that are dangerous for them. The effects of artificial light can also interfere with their instinctual behaviors during breeding and winter seasons. 

This is why World Migratory Bird Day sponsors will work to spread awareness throughout 2022, encouraging all of us to “dim the lights for birds at night.”

How Can I Get Involved?

Getting involved with World Migratory Day is easy. You can:

  • Host a website on behalf of the cause
  • Volunteer at an event
  • Host an event

You can find more information about how to get involved on the World Migratory Bird Day website.

If you have more questions about World Migratory Day or about your own bird’s health and care, feel free to contact us anytime!