About 1,800 bird species cover the distances of thousands of kilometers annually: from wintering areas to nesting grounds and back. Almost every 10th specie is on the verge of extinction: due to smog and contaminated air, some of the birds cannot find food, many of them are killed by poachers, others get trapped in nets or poisoned with plastic garbage. Some birds may reach the destination but fail to survive there: the climatic change or anthropogenic interference may destroy the habitat they are accustomed to. May 8 is the World Migratory Bird Day. 

This holiday is marked twice a year, in October and May – these are the seasons of bird migration. On that day, the scientists call upon everybody to pay attention to the need for protecting migratory birds which are especially vulnerable at the modern era. According to the specialists, the population of migratory birds has reduced twice over the past 30 years. It is during the migration season that the birds are exposed to the maximum risk, so the survival rate among their hatchlings is dropping dramatically from year to year if compared to non-migratory species. For instance, the disappearance of habitat along the American coast of Atlantic Ocean has reduced the population of Calidris Canutus by 80% over the past 7 years. Since 1970s, the population of European turtle-dove has lost each 9th bird. 

In migration periods, birds can cover great distances, for instance over 11,500 km between Alaska and New Zealand. Artic tern often starts from the Arctic Region to Africa covering 14.500 km – the distance from its nest. Once, a bird ringed at the Arctic latitudes was discovered near the southern coast of Australia. It means that it had covered 22,000 km minimum. 

The migration often consists of several stages – the birds stop for rest and feeding. The smaller the bird is, the shorter distance it is able to cover at one go. The migration ways cross the territories of different countries, so joint international efforts are required for protecting the birds. The bird protection campaign is organized on the basis of two international conventions on wildlife conservation: Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Wild Animal Species and Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) under the aegis of UN Environmental Program. 

The World Migratory Bird Day is a global environmental campaign. Among its popular activities, there are festivals of birds, educational programs, observations of birds or excursions under the guidance of specialists. All these are aimed at calling people for preserving and protecting the habitat of migratory birds.

Photo on the homepage: allaves.ru

Based on articles of RIA, Novosti UN, Mir