International Migratory Bird Day 2011
One of the things I love most about living in a rural part of Colorado is the abundance of migratory birds in our area: ducks and geese, egrets and herons, and even white pelicans!
International Migratory Bird Day was created in 1993 to celebrate close to 350 species of birds that regularly travel between their distinct summer and winter homes. This day has also become a reminder of how important these birds are to our environment, and to call us to action in protecting their existence by preserving their preferred habitats.
When researching this subject, I was surprised to see the number of birds that are considered migratory, as many do not travel as far or in as predictable patterns as they once did. Here in Colorado, for instance, we seem to have a year-round population of robins, geese, ducks, ravens, owls, hawks and eagles, all of which are listed as migratory birds. So much has changed for these species, as for all of our wildlife, in regards to safe habitat, availability of food, and even weather patterns that precipitate their flight schedules and routes.
The importance of migratory birds to our environment, economy and culture cannot be overstated: in addition to being enchanting to watch, they help control insect populations, inspire conservation of our natural resources, and generate billions of dollars in revenue through recreational observation programs.
The organization Partners in Flight has a great list of ways to help protect our bird population: http://www.fws.gov/birds/documents/LR-WaysCitizens.pdf and a breakdown of the four most important elements to consider in providing the perfect habitat for migratory species: http://www.fws.gov/birds/documents/ElementsofHabitat.pdf
For more information on migratory birds in general, and celebrating International Migratory Bird Day in particular, here are some wonderful resources: