Friday, May 15, 2009

Watching The Migrant Birds

I love to travel but it is a hassle. Making reservations, packing, finding people to take care of our two dogs, airlines, gas prices.......

However, compared to what migratory birds go through, human travel is easy. True, birds don't need passports or visas. There are no walls, airline screenings or guards for birds. The cliche, "they are as free as bird" is apt here.

However, sometimes their flight is disrupted by storms and are killed by the thousands. Other times migratory birds are thwarted by habitat loss decimating whole populations. Window collisions are deadly for the flapping travelers. The list of deadly obstacles includes global climate change, pollution, telephone and guy wires, hunting, and so on. With all the danger and long distances these birds travel, it amazes how most survive the trek.

Many people aren't aware of what trials migratory birds endure. So many folks don't know anything about migratory birds nor have any idea what makes them so important to the planet's ecology.
Thanks to the "visionaries" who knew it was important to raise awareness about the plight of migratory birds, International Migratory Bird Day was born. The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Ctr. and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, set aside a special time for these remarkable creatures. The day is called, International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD for the US, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean Islands and Central America. Other countries around the world celebrate migratory birds with World Migration Day.

Now, IMBD isn't an actual "day" per se. With the view that every day should be not only for birds but for all living things, IMBD or WMD can be celebrated all year round depending on when the birds are migrating in any given area. However, in much of North America, it is usually celebrated in May because many birds are migrating at that time.

There are festivals, fairs, birding events, rallies, picnics, hikes and bird counts this week-end. Take a look what is near you. Almost all the events are free and everyone is welcome no matter what your "birding IQ" is. We must all stand together for change. Afterall, many of the things that kills birds will eventually kill us too.

If you are in the NW suburbs of Chicago, there will be two events Prairie Woods Audubon is involved with. There is the Lake Arlington IMBD and Crabtree Nature Ctr. Check the PWA website calendar for details! We'd love to see you.

1 comment:

  1. I love IMBD because it may be the only time I see some of the birds that come through this area before heading farther north. I'm not the best birder, but my knowledgeable friends are there to help me out. I've learned much over the years and can at least share some basic knowledge with newer bird watchers. And as I participate, I am glad to see kids, moms & dads who want to learn more about birds and the environment. Maybe change something in their lives and/or even become involved in organized efforts to save the planet themselves. It only takes one thing to change a person's perspective.