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Statement by Dr Fernando Spina on World Migratory Bird Day 2021

Dr Fernando Spina
Head of Science, Bird Migration Research Branch ISPRA Bologna, Italy
CMS COP Appointed Councillor Connectivity and Ecological Networks


The colourful flock of Siskins filling our small garden with flashes of green and yellow while coming to our feeders during the cold winter days has disappeared since a few weeks now. Meanwhile, very early this morning we woke up with the fluted song of a male Redstart vibrating its tail from top of the rose in front of the nestbox which has been used during the last two years on our terrace.

Migration is here and we are witnesses to this amazing phenomenon which has fascinated man since the beginning of time. Even when living in busy cities we have migrants in small gardens or parks, and just the very glimpse of the fast silhouette of a Swift dashing by the tall buildings heralds spring.

Thinking of where are those Siskins today, in boreal forests of Scandinavia or Russia and where that male Redstart was just a few days ago, perched on some thorny bush in the heat of a remote savannah of Sahelian central Africa makes the fascination for bird migration even deeper. 

This concept of individual birds connecting sites across huge distances and between continents being driven by the instinct of their search for suitable habitats within seasonally changing environments is the natural wonder we celebrate today with World Migratory Bird Day 2021.

During these difficult days we have learned we are all sharing a single and fragile planet. This is definitely no big news for migratory birds who connect the Earth since well before Man came into play. But despite global, growing and most worrying signals Nature warns us with, we still seem not to understand this concept of connectedness of ecological functions and the ensuing shared responsibility we have in maintaining vital processes which have no boundaries across the Planet.

Let’s get fully aware and mindful of these vital connections as uniquely exemplified by bird migration gifting us again, these days, with the warbling song of incoming migrants.   


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