2017 World Migratory Bird Day Statement from CBD


10 May 2017
Convention on Biological Diversity

“Their Future is Our Future”

Every year, millions of migratory birds fly across continents and national borders. They can often involve incredible feats of navigation and endurance. These amazing journeys depend on the availability of well- functioning and healthy ecosystems.

Take the Red Knot. This sandpiper makes one of the planet’s most amazing migrations. After wintering in the southern reaches of Argentina and Chile, many Red Knots make a daunting 14,000 kilometre journey along the Atlantic flyway all the way up to their breeding grounds in the Arctic. Come fall, they return south, following the same route. And even though the Red Knot can fly some 2,4000 kilometres without rest, a voyage like that does require fuel, and the occasional stopover.

Unfortunately, the essential resting, feeding and breeding grounds upon which the Red Knot depend are increasingly being degraded and fragmented. Along the Atlantic flyway, overharvesting of the Atlantic horseshoe crab, whose eggs the birds feed on during their migration, and habitat loss due to development and climate change, are of particular concern. Other threats to migratory birds can include land use change, including overharvesting, invasive alien species, pollution and a variety of human-made impacts including climate change.

But why, you might ask, should I care? Migratory birds are a vital part of biodiversity and play a critical role in in maintaining ecosystems worldwide. They serve key functions in the interconnected systems that keep nature healthy – including pollination and seed dispersal of crops for human and livestock consumption, as well as pest regulation. Migratory birds also serve as a source of food and economically and/or culturally important activities such as hunting, tourism and recreation. They and their journeys are also a source of pride for cultures worldwide. Consequently, the conservation and sustainable use of migratory species is a key contribution to other global priorities, such as sustainable development.

Around the world, countries, communities and organizations are building networks to help improve migratory connectivity. This includes enhancing corridors and protecting flyways and breeding grounds. One example is the Kenya Lakes System of protected areas in the Great Rift Valley. A natural landscape of outstanding beauty, the Kenya Lakes System comprises three lakes and is home to 13 globally threatened bird species, including a number of migratory birds, such as the Great White Pelican.

 This press release was issued by Convention on Biological Diversity on 5 May 2017   at https://www.cbd.int/doc/speech/2017/sp-2017-05-10-migratorybird-en.pdf

To find more relevant materials, please go to World Migratory Bird Day page.

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