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WMBD 2019 Highlights (May Events)

Be Inspired by Past Events

Every year, in anticipation of World Migratory Bird Day, bird and nature enthusiasts around the world  ponder the best ways to make it a memorable occasion. For us at the WMBD coordination team, activities that have taken place around the globe over the past 13 years are the best source of inspiration.

We are happy to share a few of the many celebrations organized on our first WMBD date on 11 May 2019 under the slogan “Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution”. Hopefully, they will inspire you to organize your own unique WMBD events and convey the feeling that in the different corners of the world we are all united by migratory birds and their epic journeys.

 

 


Albania 

Waste from a wetland clean-up deposited in a bird-like container 

70 volunteers came together to clean a natural reserve... [read more]

 

Australia 

Protesting against commercial development of a Ramsar wetland

 500 participants protested against a concession to build a harbour marina... [read more]

Cambodia

Educational events – improving the future of birds and people

Several organizations produced an educational event for a better future... [read more]

 

Canada

Bird monitoring in action

Participants observed the operation of a bird monitoring programme... [read more]

Ecuador 

Art on the rim of a crater

A stimulating exhibition related to migratory birds and plastic pollution... [read more]

 

Iran

Birdwatching and clean-up in the pink waters of Maharlu Lake

A small group exercised a birdwatching in a pink lake ... [read more]

Mongolia ​

A painting contest at the apex of a multi-activity event

Around 900 people took part in an event packed with activities... [read more]

 

Nepal 

Raptors in the spotlight

Participants toured a bird observatory... [read more]

Saudi Arabia 

A photo exhibition on migratory birds and plastic pollution

 Visitors in a photo exhibition pledged to reduce their use of plastic... [read more]

 

US - Hawaii

A guided hike to a bird nesting site

 A small group embarked on an exclusive guided hike in a reserve... [read more] 

US - Washington, D.C.

A bilingual bird walk in the park

A crowd of amateur birders learned a new languague during a park walk...[read more]

 

Uzbekistan 

Nationwide educational events

Students learnt about local endangered species and obstacles to migration... [read more]

 

 




 

Albania

Waste collected during a wetland clean-up deposited in a bird-like container

70 volunteers came together to clean a natural reserve. All the waste collected during the clean-up was deposited later inside a giant bin shaped like a bird to highlight that this must be the only "bird" in the world that may "enjoy" feeding on plastic.

Situated a few kilometers to the north of Durres, Albania, the Fllake-Sektori Rinia wetland is a favourite stopover for many migratory birds flying seasonally to and fro across the Adriatic flyway. Alas, plastic waste has been piled up all around, thanks to careless tourism. To mark WMBD 2019 the civil organization “Protection and Preservation of Natural Environment in Albania” assembled around 70 worthy volunteers, who jointly engaged in a clean-up of the reserve. The garbage collected was later deposited in a giant container, in the form of a duck, to deliver the message that this sculpture must be the only “bird” in the world that should be allowed to feed on plastic. During the clean-up, participants were practising birdwatching so that they could also enjoy the natural beauty of the area. BACK TO TOP

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Australia

Protesting against commercial and residential development of a Ramsar wetland

In Moreton Bay, Australia 500 participants from local communities protested against a concession issued by the local government, which allows the construction of a new marina at the harbour.

World Migratory Bird Day provides a great opportunity to make the voices of migratory birds heard in local politics. Moreton Bay in eastern Australia is protected by the 1971 Ramsar international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. Stretching between mangroves, mudflats and sandbanks, the bay is a sanctuary for migratory birds flying throughout the East Asian-Australian flyway—among them is the endangered Eastern Curlew. Bird Life Australia mobilized approximately 500 private individuals, scientists and politicians from local communities around the bay. Concerned by a recent concession granted to a private developer by the government to build a new marina in the harbour, participants rallied on WMBD to protest against the decision. They argued that construction of the marina will cause migratory birds to suffer massive habitat loss. Participants demonstrated with pro-environmental slogans such as “save the bay, vote for birds” and “stop extinction” and ultimately formed a physical line in the mud, representing their ‘red-line’ against the plan. According to the organizers the event was “a smashing success”. BACK TO TOP

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Cambodia

Educational events – improving the future of birds and people

Several organizations in Cambodia combined forces to produce an event, which addressed in particular the young generation. Lectures, photo exhibitions and open discussions were concluded with the planting of trees as a token of commitment to promote a better future.

It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of migratory birds to the world’s future. As this future belongs to the young, passing knowledge and a sense of responsibility on to them seems like a pivotal task for the present. Bearing that in mind, the Cambodian Environment Ministry along with the secretariat of the East Asian – Australian Flyway Partnership and several other local NGOs, organized an educational event for the students at ‘Bunrany Hun Sen Chariyavong’ High School. A total of 350 attendees—students, teachers, staff, government’s officials, birders and conservationists—took part in this event in the city of Kep. Aiming to enhance understanding about the value of migratory birds and the many threats they are facing—not least, plastic pollution—the programme included informative lectures, a bird-photography exhibition, and open discussions. Organizers believe that this WMBD event managed not only to increase participants’ knowledge, but also to promote conservation of migratory birds and wetlands as a fundamental communal value.  To take this commitment one step forward, the students concluded the programme with the planting of new trees in the high-school’s surroundings. BACK TO TOP

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Canada

Bird monitoring in action

In North America’s oldest bird sanctuary, over one hundred participants observed the operation of a bird monitoring programme. As a bonus, they learnt about challenges to bird migration, engaged in handicraft work and performed a riverside clean-up nearby.  

A World Migratory Bird Day event can be a great opportunity for conservationists to share their passion with the public, and for the public to gain a first-hand experience of the nuts-and-bolts of conservation. ‘Nature Saskatchewan’—a local environmental foundation in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan—hosted 108 participants in their Bird Observatory. Situated in Las Mountain Regional Park, the observatory is North-America’s oldest bird sanctuary. Participants benefited from a unique opportunity to observe a large-scale bird monitoring programme in action. Rotating through different stations, they watched how birds had been carefully extracted from mist-nets, banded and their age estimated; In another station, they learnt about the obstacles faced by migratory birds in their challenging route back and forth between Mexico and Canada. In addition, there were also craft activities such as the design of bird masks and feeders. A shoreline clean-up took place afternoon and was followed by a discussion about plastic pollution. Its conclusions were later transcribed into a banner wherein participants pledged to become the solution to plastic pollution. BACK TO TOP

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Ecuador

Art on the rim of a crater

Seven visual artists displayed stimulating exhibits related to migratory birds and plastic pollution and offered the public a reflective moment by sitting on a chair surrounded by stacks of plastic. Afterwards they invited the participants to join in creative artistic activities.  

The scenic backdrop of the volcanic crater of Pululahua -- one of only two inhabited volcanic craters in the world - was placed at the disposal of seven local visual artists by El Crater Hotel-Restaurant. In this picturesque site near the Equator, a thought-provoking exhibition addressed the problem of plastic pollution and its tragic consequences for migratory birds. Several exhibits made of different materials have been created by the artists in an attempt to convey the beauty of birds and contrast it with inorganic plastic. Drawing on the natural beauty of the venue, the artists placed a chair between stacks of plastic and invited visitors to sit down and experience a degraded nature, thereby hopefully invoking feelings of rejection and responsibility. In addition, visitors of all ages were invited to engage in the hands-on creation of bird figures from recycled material together with the artists. BACK TO TOP

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Iran

Birdwatching and clean-up in the pink waters of Maharlu Lake

Near the city of Shiraz, a small group celebrated WMBD 2019 with a birdwatching in a special tiny lake whose water turns pink during midsummer.

A highly relevant outdoor activity for World Migratory Bird Day is of course birdwatching. EALFA is an environmental, non-profit Iranian NGO that is routinely engaged in diverse Wildlife conservation activities. To celebrate WMBD 2019 it organized a birdwatching tour in the Maharlu Lake near the city of Shiraz—unique for the pinkish hue its water acquires during midsummer. The programme also included a riverside clean-up in conjunction with an open discussion as to the meaning of being good hosts to migratory birds and the problem of plastic waste. In the more light-hearted part of the programme, participants created figures of birds on the ground using plastic-bottle lids. BACK TO TOP   

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Mongolia

A painting contest at the apex of a multi-activity event

Around 900 people of all ages took part in an event packed with activities—from lectures on various topics to birdwatching training. At the core of the programme, winners of a painting-contest were acknowledged and awarded with prizes.

A mega WMBD event with more than 900 participants was co-produced by several bodies—from state ministries and civil society organizations to media channels and private companies. The event encompassed various activities for families, birders, nature enthusiasts, students and others. A major attraction was a painting contest entitled “Mongolian Pride—National Bird”. Organizers had invited public of all ages to submit paintings of Mongolian national birds some time in advance. Around 400 paintings were sent in by 148 participants. On the day of the event winners in different age categories were announced and awarded. An exhibition of all the paintings was also available during the event. Beside the contest, many activities took place throughout the day: field training in birdwatching for parents and children, lectures on various topics such as Mongolian flora and fauna, common threats to birds in Mongolia, plastic pollution, and more. There were also bird identification contests and quizzes. According to organizers, the event managed to pick national media’s interest, triggering press coverage as well as interviews with the organizers. BACK TO TOP

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Nepal

Raptors in the spotlight

Participants toured a bird observatory, where they could evidence at first hand the monitoring programme of eagles and discuseed migratory birds and plastic pollution with the programme’s specialists.    

In Nepal, ‘Himalaya Nature’, an institute for sustainable development and wildlife conservation, hosted ornithologists and bird enthusiasts in the Kosi Bird Observatory research station. The institute runs a raptor-monitoring programme in the reserve, particularly for two eagle species— the Indian Spotted Eagle and the Mountain Hawk Eagle. The WMBD event kicked off with a short informal briefing by the institute’s specialist on the topic of migratory birds, their ecological importance and the threat of plastic pollution. Immediately afterwards, participants closely observed how—in the framework of the monitoring programme—five eagles were captured, banded and released back to nature only that now, ringed with GPS trackers, they grant scientists access to vital information about their movement patterns. The collection of data from these trackers aims to improve the conservation of the raptors themselves in the future. BACK TO TOP

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 Saudi Arabia

Photo exhibitions on migratory birds and plastic pollution

The photo exhibition in Riyadh, featured Chris Jordan’s “Midway Project”— unflinching evidence of the tragic link between plastic pollution and the massive death of Albatrosses. On their way out, visitors could sign a pledge to reduce their use of plastic.  

In Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, World Migratory Bird Day was celebrated with a photography exhibition featuring this year’s main theme on plastic pollution and the toll it takes on migratory birds. Notable among the exhibits, was Chris Jordan’s “Midway project” — now a world renowned, gut-wrenching photography series, which documents the deadly impact of plastic-polluted oceans on water birds, in this case on the albatross colony on the tiny atoll known as Midway in the Pacific Ocean.  Organized by the Saudi Falcon Club (SFC), the event took place in the impressive Riyadh Park Complex and hosted many visitors of all ages.  Participants were ultimately invited to sign on a board, whereby they vowed to reduce their use of plastic. BACK TO TOP

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US - Hawaii

 A guided hike to a bird nesting site

 In Hawaii a small group of nature-lovers went on an exclusive guided hike in a local reserve—habitat for several native bird species. On their way up they leant more about the site, and on their way back they cleaned a local pond. 

Two rangers from US Fish & Wildlife Service led a group of 17 community members on a 3-mile hike to Nihoku—an ecosystem area stretching into the heart of Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. Access to the area is restricted since it is a nesting and roosting site for several native birds, which made the hike a rather exclusive experience. The rangers informed the participants about the site they were visiting and explained its ecological and cultural importance. On their way back, the group stopped by to perform a clean-up in a nearby tide pool, focusing in particular on the removal of items such as fishing gear, which exposes birds to the risk of entanglement. BACK TO TOP

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US- Washington D.C

A bilingual bird walk in the park

A diverse crowd of amateur birders took a couple hours' walk in a park and observed many bird species along the way. A casual language course developed between the participants, as they were naming the birds in both English and Spanish.   

In Washington DC several organizations (DC Audubon, Corazón Latino, Washington Parks and People, US Forest Service) combined forces to organize a bilingual—English and Spanish—bird walk across DC’s Meridian Hill Park.  The event started off early in the morning with a short welcome at the offices of Washington Parks and People. Attendees were mostly bird-novices and nearly as diverse as the birds they saw around the park—22 different species in total—of which about half were migratory. All the birds observed along the way were named in both English and Spanish, so that participants benefited from a fun and informal language-lesson. At the end of the tour the group returned to the offices where it had all started for some snacks and casual bird chats. The little ones were entertained with building their own bird feeders using pine cones, peanut butter, and bird seeds. BACK TO TOP

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Uzbekistan

Nationwide educational events

In a series of instructive events with a broad extent, students and school became familiarized with migratory birds which fly through their country, learnt about local endangered species and the specific obstacles to their migration.

The Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds (UzSPB) reached out to approximately 250 participants of different ages in a series of educational WMBD events. Mainly setting out to address the young, events took place in schools, universities and student clubs covering diverse topics. For instance, the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Karakaplak held lectures and discussions on common migration flyways and major threats to migratory birds. The dean of the faculty surveyed in his talk the main international organizations active in the field of bird conservation. A similar event took place in Samarkand University, a couple of days later. On yet another occasion, volunteers of UzSPB visited a primary school in Tashkent where they introduced the pupils to six local migratory bird species—harbingers of the Uzbek spring. For the fun part, they created together handcrafted figures of birds. At a different primary school in the city of Talimarzhan, activists from UzSPB introduced the pupils to the critically endangered Sociable Lapwing, which migrates through the country on its way to southern wintering sites, but very often suffers deadly collusions with skyscrapers’ glass windows. BACK TO TOP 

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