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How it all began - WMBD history

World Migratory Bird Day was initiated in 2006 by the Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).

Originally, the idea of designating a day for migratory birds arose in the United States in 1993, when the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology initiated celebrations of the ‘International Migratory Bird Day' (IMBD), which encourages bird festivals and education programmes across the Americas. Although this day was and continues to be successfully celebrated in the western hemisphere, something similar was missing for the rest of the world.

On the occasion of its 10th anniversary in 2005, the AEWA Secretariat initiated the Migratory Waterbird Days (MWD) which were held in Africa, Europe and parts of Asia. As this event was well received in the African-Eurasian region, it was decided to broaden the scope into a commemorative day that celebrates all migrating birds on a global scale.

The very first World Migratory Bird Day was launched by AEWA and CMS on the weekend of 8-9 April 2006 on Ms. Kuki Gallmann’s famous wildlife reserve ‘Ole Ari Nyiro’ in Laikipia, Kenya. The central event at the launch - called WINGS  - was inspired by the phenomenon of bird migration and was attended by a number of international personalities from the worlds of art, business and conservation.

Since then, WMBD has been celebrated annually and has been growing in popularity each year. The global campaign continues to be organized centrally from Bonn, Germany by the CMS and AEWA Secretariats. Every year more countries, organizations and people are joining the campaign.

 


 

WMBD THEMES SINCE 2006

World Migratory Bird Day 2016

With the theme “Stop the illegal killing, taking and trade of Migratory Birds!”, WMBD 2016 highlighted the existensial threat of the illegal killing, taking and trade of migratory birds and the need for a concerted action between governments, International organizations, NGOs and the civil society in order to end this phenomenon that each year kills millions of birds.

In the eleventh edition of WMBD, 319 events were registered from 85 countries around the world.

[More information on WMBD 2016!]

World Migratory Bird Day 2015

With the theme “Energy – make it bird-friendly!”, WMBD 2015 highlighted the importance of deploying energy technologies in a way that prevents, minimizes and mitigates impacts on migratory birds and their habitats.

In the tenth edition of WMBD, 219 events were registered globally, and it also marked the 20th anniversary year of AEWA – the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds – whose Secretariat together with the Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) are the organizational drivers for this unique campaign.

[More information on WMBD 2015!]

World Migratory Bird Day 2014

 

With the theme “Destination Flyways: Migratory Birds and Tourism”, WMBD 2014 highlighted the links between migratory bird conservation, local community development and wildlife watching tourism around the world.

For the first time, more than 400 events took place in 85 countries - a new record number that shows increasing commitment to migratory bird conservation around the world.

[More information on WMBD 2014!]

World Migratory Bird Day 2013

A record 345 events in 86 countries were carried out to mark World Migratory Bird Day 2013 under the theme "Networking for migratory birds".

Each and every one of these events represents a unique activity which brought people together around the world to celebrate and help raise awareness about migratory birds on 11-12 May 2013!

[More information on WMBD 2013!]

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World Migratory Bird Day 2012

In 2012 the World Migratory Bird Day theme focused on the cultural relationship between birds and people. Throughout time and across cultures humans have relied on birds, be it to supply food, to deliver messages, or to serve as symbols of power and prestige. Amazingly more than 250 events were registered in 81 countries around the world on May 12th and 13th, showing an increase of 25% from 2011 and an expansion of three-fold since its inception in 2006!

[More information on WMBD 2012!]

World Migratory Bird Day 2011

The year 2011 was for World Migratory Bird Day absolute record breaker thanks to an amazing 204 registered events in 64 countries worldwide. It was celebrated on 14th and 15th May 2011 and focused on conversion of natural areas into agricultural land, the construction of buildings, roads and dams, or deforestation, which are just some examples for the human use of land, also known as land use, while migratory bird populations are particularly sensitive to these changes.

[More information on WMBD 2011!]

World Migratory Bird Day 2010

On 8-9 May 2010 World Migratory Bird Day was celebrated in over 40 countries around the world. Under the theme “Save migratory birds in crisis - every species counts!”, over 90 registered events took place worldwide. The 2010 campaign was closely linked to the International Year of Biodiversity and raised awareness on globally threatened migratory birds, with a particular focus on those on the very edge of extinction – the Critically Endangered migratory birds.

[More information on WMBD 2010!]

World Migratory Bird Day 2009

On 9-10 May 2009 World Migratory Bird Day was celebrated in over 50 countries around the world. Under the theme “Barriers to migration”, 130 registered events took place. These events helped to raise awareness on man-made barriers and demonstrated that obstacles such as wind turbines, power lines and tall buildings pose a threat to migratory birds.

[More information on WMBD 2009!]

World Migratory Bird Day 2008

Under the theme “Migratory Birds – Ambassadors for Biodiversity”, World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) was celebrated for the third time on 10-11 May 2008. Over 136 activities took place in 59 countries around the world to mark World Migratory Bird Day in 2008 and the events helped spread the idea of migratory birds as messengers for the conservation of biodiversity worldwide.

[More information on WMBD 2008!]

World Migratory Bird Day 2007

In 2007, World Migratory Bird Day was celebrated in more than 58 countries and with more than 100 different events all across the planet on 12-13 May. The theme “Migratory birds in a changing climate” helped to focus the world’s attention on the plight migratory birds are facing due to global warming. WMBD activities highlighted the effects that increasing temperatures, altered rainfall and vacillating weather conditions have on migratory birds.

[More information on WMBD 2007!]

World Migratory Bird Day 2006

The first World Migratory Bird Day took place on 8-9 April, 2006. At the time, migratory birds were receiving very negative media coverage as a result of them being falsely believed to be the main cause for the spread of Avian Influenza (H5N1) around the world. So the idea arose to use the first World Migratory Bird Day to counter some of the negative and often unbalanced publicity migratory birds were receiving at the peak of the Avian Influenza discussion. For this reason the theme of the first World Migratory Bird Day in 2006 became: “Migratory birds need our support now!”. The centre of the campaign was a launching event called WINGS which took place on the edge of the Great Rift Valley in Kenya and was hosted by Ms. Kuki Gallman, a famous writer and conservationist. Altogether, 68 other WMBD related events took place in all corners of the world to support the launch and the very first WMBD campaign.

[More information on WMBD 2006!]