The Birds that Migrate

Birdlife is vast and different, depending on the habitat needed, the food consumed, and the habits handed down over generations. Many birds migrate twice a year, exposing them to danger in the form of missing habitats when they get where they are going and predators waiting for their arrival.

Protecting birds that stay in one place is difficult enough. Birds that fly about the globe involves the governments of two or more countries. 1495 species of birds migrate. Only 9% have adequate protection for their “suites” of resting places and final destinations. Compare that to 45% of non-migratory species.

102917 global flightways

Neither number is wonderful. As a bird lover, I want to see 100% protection in place. But it will take lots more targeted investments and cooperation between countries. A long shot at best.

There is a need for explicit objectives. There is a need for hands reaching across borders. And there is a need for grass-roots, public-motivated, actions. The Bonn Convention is a good start, bringing into play “the only global and UN-based intergovernmental organization established exclusively for the conservation and management of terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range.”

102917 resting

Yet there is more power and focus when people reach out to each other across the imaginary boundaries of country or state. On social media, we have a great opportunity to talk to each other and suggest helpful steps to take. Sadly, on Facebook within my reach, there are no groups for migratory bird conservation except the government-sponsored ones.

102917 ruddy shelduck

Looking at this amazing video of a pair of hooded grebes in Patagonia, and wonder how anyone can decide it’s not worth their time to help keep them on the planet. This species is critically endangered, making it one of the rarest birds in South America. Could you reach out to someone on Facebook who lives in the species habitat and exchange information about the migrations? Would that totally rock your world? Maybe hummingbirds are your thing. Find someone in Canada in the summer grounds of these little gems and trade stories and photos with them.

102917 hummies

I would love to find Tasmanian or Australian friends with whom I could talk about the rare migratory parrots there. The swift and the orange-bellied parrots make such a splash of color that they might draw the eye and contribute to the lack of security they currently have. But the top reason for their decline is habitat decline, a common problem around the world. If I could talk to someone who has land where these birds migrate, and I could help brainstorm ways to keep the land useful to both human and parrot, then maybe it would just be a start of cooperation and appreciation around the world.

102917 migrating

I may jump in and start a bird pals migration time page on Facebook. I can’t think of a better way to get some information in front of the people who need to know we can work together. If anyone knows of a group already set up, please let me know. I want to make a contribution of my time and energy to help out our winged friends and planet-mates.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back next Sunday.

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