May 12th Is International Migratory Bird DayMay 2nd, 2012 by Craig Mullins
Observed across country lines, International Migratory Bird Day is devoted to celebrating and bringing attention to one of the most important animal events in the Americas – bird migration.
International Migratory Bird Day occurs twice a year – on the second Saturday in May in the United States and Canada, and in October in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
There are 3 kinds of migrating birds:
– Summer Residents are migratory birds that go north in the spring; they reproduce in the summer and then return south in the fall.
– Winter Residents are the birds that fly south for the winter.
– Transients are migratory birds that nest in the far north, and then travel to the far south for winter. These birds are usually only seen as they pass through.
The birds that stay in one place year round are called Permanent Residents, by the way.
The conservation of migratory birds is essential to the balance of the ecosystem. The best way to help is to become educated on the various birds and the threats they face.
The activities of humans have threatened migratory bird species more than anything else.
Hunting along the migratory route can also take a heavy toll. The populations of Siberian Cranes that wintered in India declined due to hunting along the route, particularly in Afghanistan and Central Asia. Birds were last seen in their favourite wintering grounds in Keoladeo National Park in 2002.
Structures such as power lines, wind farms and offshore oil-rigs have also been known to affect migratory birds. Habitat destruction by land use changes is the biggest threat, and shallow wetlands that are stopover and wintering sites for migratory birds are particularly threatened by draining and reclamation for human use.
Migratory Bird Facts:
– The word ‘migration’ comes from the Latin word ‘migratus’ which means “to change.”
– Bird migration is an instinctual seasonal journey made in response to changes in habitat, food availability, or weather.
– For many bird species, migration is an integral part of reproduction.
– Approximately 1800 of the 10,000 bird species on earth are long-distance migrants.
– To prepare for migration, birds accumulate a fat reserve up to 50% of their body weight.
– Migratory birds follow four main flyways in North America during their twice yearly trips.
– Most migratory birds have longer, more pointed wings than birds that don’t migrate. The “pointed-edge” design helps reduce the air resistance during prolonged flights.
– 90% of birds fly an average of 25 to 70 kilometres per hour during migration.
Happy International Migratory Bird Day! How do plan on helping the migratory birds of our world?