Home The Theme for 2010
The WMBD 2010 Theme


The United Nations declared 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB). This is an appreciation of the value of biodiversity for our lives. However, it is not only a celebration, but also an invitation to take action to safeguard the variety of life on earth. Our planet’s biological diversity is very rich and amazing. It is the result of billions of years of evolution and forms the complex web of life of which we are part and upon which we totally depend. Humankind relies on this diversity, because it provides us with food, fuel, medicine and other essentials which we need every day.


Regardless of that, species are disappearing because of human activities and there are a lot of species that are in danger of becoming extinct. These losses are irreversible and the decline of biodiversity endangers our livelihood. The current rate of extinction is a thousand times faster than the natural one. Normally, only one bird per century becomes extinct, but during the last thirty years 21 bird species disappeared. At the moment 192 birds are classified as Critically Endangered as a result of habitat loss, hunting, pollution, climate change, human disturbance and other reasons. These threats are directly or indirectly man-made. Without immediate action, many of these endangered species will not be here in a few years time. The Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus), for example, is expected to become extinct within a human generation due to fisheries by-catch. And there are several other species which are extremely rare. The population size of Slender-billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris), New Zealand Storm-petrel (Oceanites maorianus) as well as Rueck’s Blue-flycatcher (Cyornis ruckii) is under 50 individuals.

Photos (from left): Siberian Crane © International Crane Foundation; Barnacle Geese © Alastair Rae/Flickr.com; Flying Crances © ibm4381/Flickr.com; Sociable Lapwing © Sergey Dereliev

Therefore in 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity, World Migratory Bird Day focuses on Globally Threatened Migratory Birds and especially on those thirty-one migratory bird species, which are classified as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List. These are birds, which face extinction. Migratory birds rely on several different habitats; they need different locations for breeding and raising their young, and for feeding. Some of them migrate up to thousands of kilometers to find suitable areas and cross many different habitats, regardless of any political borders. Thus, saving migratory birds means saving their required habitats and that benefits other species as well. Because birds are found nearly everywhere and, with more than 10,000 described species, being the best known and best-researched taxon, they serve as vital indicators of distribution and state of biodiversity and the ecosystems they inhabit. If a bird species becomes threatened by extinction it is a clear sign that the conditions of, or the ecosystem itself, have changed and that other species that depend on this ecosystem may be affected as well. Saving every species is therefore essential, because if one species becomes extinct, the whole ecosystem will be affected. 

To raise awareness on the close links between people, migratory birds and their habitats, join us in celebrating WMBD 2010 under the theme:

Save migratory birds in crisis – every species counts!