World Migratory Bird Day

On 9 and 10th May thousands of people around the world took part in World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD). The theme “Barriers to Migration” aimed to highlight the effects that man made structures such as power lines, tall buildings, wind turbines and communication masts can have on migratory birds.

World Migratory Bird Day Photo:

During migration birds face a number of natural barriers such as tall mountains, seas, and deserts. In addition man-made structures are adding additional risks to their journey. As well as blocking the natural migration route for the birds, collisions with these structures are responsible for the deaths of millions of birds each year.

“Hundreds and thousands of migratory birds, including many that are protected under international wildlife treaties such as the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), are killed in growing numbers by man-made barriers. Some of these cases could quite easily be avoided by introducing technical measures for reducing this often avoidable cause of destruction” said Bert Lenten, Executive Secretary of AEWA and initiator of the World Migratory Bird Day campaign.

Over 40% of long-distance migrants in the African-Eurasian flyway have shown signs of decline over the last three decades. Of these 10% are classified by BirdLife as globally Threatened or Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. Many of these birds are continuing to disappear.

The BirdLife Partnership is extremely well placed to undertake action for migratory birds. There are BirdLife network organisations in more than 70 countries along the African-Eurasian flyway, and they are working together to raise awareness about migratory birds and implement conservation projects.

Action plans have been prepared for a number of soaring birds which use the African-Eurasian flyway – such as Northern Bald Ibis and Lesser Kestrel - and these are being widely implemented by BirdLife Partners in collaboration with governments

All BirdLife flyways work can be viewed at

World Migratory Bird Day is organised by the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) – two international wildlife treaties administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other partners.

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