International Migratory Bird Day, which is being celebrated each year on May 14, is an opportunity to take time out for bird watching, raise awareness on the importance of birds and protect the species and their habitats. The day, also reminds us their intrepid flights from one point of the world to another.
To celebrate IMBD (International Migratory Bird Day), Wisconsin is considered as the “epicenter” by the bird watching community in the US. It’s because the Wisconsin state is covered by two major migratory paths and provides magnificent views of the flight of hundreds of migratory bird species. In over 400 bird species that flies above the Wisconsin sky, 11 species are endangered and 13 are threatened species.
In an op-ed for the Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, Carl Schwartz wrote why this day is especially important for the state’s residents, noting that his state has more than 400 species of migratory birds, with a good percentage at risk of endangerment, or already endangered.
“The migratory paths for migratory birds span cities, states, countries and even continents,” said Schwartz, stressing that Wisconsin has one of the “most diverse” bird populations in America. “Yet many species face declining populations due to habitat loss, pollution, outdoor cats, window strikes and invasive plants. About 30 percent of Wisconsin’s breeding bird species have low or declining populations, including 11 endangered species and 13 threatened species.”
Similar to humans and animals, all kinds of birds are also important part of the ecosystem and they play a major role in the food chain. Some examples of its roles are – eating bugs and pests from the plants, helping grow forests by distributing seeds everywhere they move, etc..
Not to forget, a recent Jamaican study revealed that existence of birds around coffee plantations reduced the pest infections significantly, which increased the per acre value of the coffee farm.
Many organizations in Wisconsin work towards raising awareness for endangered birds and the ways to protect them and their habitats. The year 2016 marks the 100th year after the Migratory Bird Treaty was signed by Canada, United States and Mexico. The main objective of the document was to protect migratory birds that flies in its flight route above the territory of these countries.
Betsy Blakeslee, manager of the Nature Conservancy’s Carpenter Ranch, said:
“Birds are built for survival and know how to extract from nature what they need, without really destroying anything in their habitat.”
Carpenter Ranch accommodates at least one hundred of different bird species. “There is such a variety of habitat here and it’s bird migration time, so you will see new birds appearing every day,” said Tresa Moulton, a bird watching guide at Carpenter Ranch.
Pollution and deforestation is affecting the birds, its migration routes and habitats. According to the reports, around 30 percent of bird species of Wisconsin are undergoing a significant decline in numbers.
In their own op-ed, Alaska Wilderness League directors Toni Armstrong and Richard Spener implored the Obama administration to “continue to stand out front on the issue of climate change” and work closely with conservationist groups to address the problems of birds and other animals on the National Petroleum Reserve’s Special Areas.
“His administration needs to make sure that development in the reserve does not proceed until the highest scientific and environmental standards are met,” the Armstrong/Spener op-ed stressed, closing by saying that everyone should “make a promise” on International Migratory Bird Day to protect the reserve and its Special Areas, not only for birds, but for all forms of wildlife on the area.