International Migratory Bird Day 2008

As part of their drive to increase awareness of birds and the need for conservation across the Western Hemisphere, Environment for the Americas hosts International Migratory Bird Day. Each year a different conservation-based, educational theme is chosen for International Migratory Bird Day. The theme chosen for 2008 is “Tundra to Tropics: Connecting Birds, Habitats and People”. This theme is carried through on educational materials and art, as well as promotional posters and t-shirts, nurturing a sense of solidarity among birders irrespective of where they may be based.

Created in 1993 by forward-thinking individuals at the Cornel Laboratory of Ornithology and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, International Migratory Bird Day has evolved into Environment for the Americas’ principal education project. The focus of the event continues to be on the epic journey of migratory birds between their summer and winter habitats, as well as what needs to be done to conserve their vital en route and destination habitats, thereby conserving the birds themselves. Bird lovers from across Canada, United States, Central America and Mexico are encouraged to get involved with this project.

International Migratory Bird Day officially takes place each year on the second Saturday in May and the 2008 official date is 10 May. However, bearing in mind that to the south migratory birds have not yet started their journey and to the far north the birds haven’t arrived yet, International Migratory Bird Day stretches out through the year while remaining focused on the current theme. In the United States and Canada, the majority of events take place during April and May, while in the Caribbean and Latin America events generally take place in the autumn months.

Events for International Migratory Bird Day celebrations can include anything from a morning bird walk to a multi-day festival. The organizers have made available fact sheets, posters, coloring-in pages, a press kit and numerous activity suggestions. The extensive promotional and educational material provided by Environment for the Americas are not dated and can be used throughout the year for all organized events. Participants in an International Migratory Bird Day bird count can make a significant contribution to conservation efforts by submitting their data to the organizers and thereby becoming citizen scientists.

The annual migration of birds is a highlight in any bird watcher’s calendar. The International Migratory Bird Day creates a theme around which birding clubs and organizations can build their events. This often encourages newcomers to join seasoned birders in exploring the many marvels of bird life.