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Statement by Prof Stephen Garnett on World Migratory Bird Day 2021

Prof. Stephen Garnett
CMS Appointed Councillor for Birds,
Charles Darwin University, Australia


Airports stand idle, even trains travel intermittently, once flurried human movement is now masked and hesitant. But not so for the migrants of the natural world. Unaware of human geographies, birds continue their migrations as they have for millennia. While they have no alternative – their lives tied to movement by ecology and evolution – they can provide inspiration for humanity. ‘Travel well!’ we say to skeins of passing geese, ‘Take our souls to lands far away and may the people there nurture and admire you so you return safely.’ But such freedom, like all freedom, is fragile. Migrant animals are finding it harder to connect the undegraded spaces between human development. Only through the cooperation among peoples along migratory pathways will migrants continue to carry our dreams. Let World Migratory Bird Day continue to inspire both conservation and cooperation to look after the birds we share.   


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