World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is a global movement to unify to the planet’s major migratory bird corridors. The three major migratory bird corridors, which are also known as flyways, are the African-Eurasian flyway, the East Asian-Australasian flyway, and the Americas flyways.
World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated twice a year on the Second Saturday in May and in October, with WMBD aiming to reach a broad audience to amplify its message for bird conservation. As a new global platform that unifies efforts worldwide, WMBD reinforces education and awareness-raising about the need to protect migratory birds and their habitats, at all different levels, in all parts of the world.
We’re fortunate at Thala to be on the migratory route for several species. Of the 190 species spotted at Thala, some of the birds we see on migration are channel billed cuckoos, rainbow bee eaters, pied imperial pigeons and metallic starlings.
Highways in the Sky
WMBD dedicates 2018 to major flyways and the new inter-flyway cooperation. With “Unifying our Voices for Bird Conservation” as its theme for 2018, WMBD is focusing clearly on the need for people celebrating WMBD around the world to communicate and learn from each other, across borders, within and between the world’s flyways.
The East Asia-Australasian flyway encompasses 22 countries from Bangladesh and Myanmar in the west; to Australia and New Zealand in the south; Russia and USA in the north. The scale of avian movements along the flyway is staggering. Over 50 million migratory waterbirds including 8 million waders use the route annually.
The East Asian–Australasian Flyway includes a complex of many islands and ocean crossings, spans many countries and contains nearly half the world’s humans. Areas of the Flyway are subject to large-scale, rapid economic development and consequently many waterbird populations in this flyway are threatened or in decline.
Undertaking such dramatic journeys pushes birds to the limits of their endurance as they are reliant upon favourable weather and finding sufficient food resources throughout their migratory journey. The poster child for the East Asian-Australasian flyway, the Bar-tailed Godwit undertakes an extraordinary journey – an 11,000km non-stop flight between Alaska and New Zealand.
Through the activities being undertaken on the world’s three flyways and the resulting exchange of information, WMBD hopes to increase the level of awareness about the threats that birds are facing. By comparing their experiences and concerns, sharing their stories and activities, people around the world will make their voices and actions reach out even further, throughout the flyways, underlying the fact that bird conservation is, indeed, a global issue.