Home The Theme for 2009
"Barriers to migration" - WMBD theme for 2009 PDF Print E-mail


Year by year in autumn and spring majestic avian flocks depart for their long journeys following the call of the wild and paths of their ancestors. For some, it is a long, exhaustive and dangerous journey, sometimes stretching thousands of kilometers from the Arctic to the southern tip of Africa and beyond. Migratory birds have to cope with a scarcity of food, stopover sites that are shrinking in area, predators, hostile weather and the expanse of seas, huge mountains and endless deserts. Yet, humans have created additional obstacles to further complicate their journeys. 


Dazzling spotlights from city skyscrapers, tall glass windows and guy wires of television towers can be invisible to birds and cause collisions that result in bird fatalities. Proliferating communication towers and masts, wind turbines, tall buildings, power lines, and fences kill or harm huge numbers of birds each year and represent increasingly fatal barriers which have a detrimental impact on entire populations of migratory birds.

Although kills like these are often unintended and frequently avoidable - thousands of new structures are built each year, often along the migration paths of migratory birds. Many of the world's coastlines and mountaintops, utilized for the generation of wind power, reside along some of the world's best known and major migration routes. New wind turbine developments are still being planned around the world, sometimes without a detailed assessment having been carried out on the potential environmental impacts they may cause , let alone the effect they could have on migratory birds.


The aim of World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) 2009 is to raise awareness on some of these man-made barriers to migration and to inform people about the impact these structures can have on migratory birds and on their migration.  A "truly green" development in renewable energy, architecture and urban planning is one, which aims to minimize all possible environmental impacts, including those on migratory birds and other species.

Learn more about some of the man-made "Barriers to migration":