World Migratory Bird Day 2017 and Year of the Knots 2017-2018

 Spike Millington, Chief Executive, EAAFP Secretariat

WMBD 2017’s event by EAAFP Secretariat, G-tower, Incheon, RoK © Eugene Cheah

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is here again. May 10th marks the official day, but we have had our exhibit up in our building for a couple of weeks already and it has attracted many visitors, who have coloured the bird cutouts, inscribed their personal messages and added them to Our Winged Travellers flock. We also held a celebration day on April 20th, where Spike spoke about the journeys of migratory waterbirds and why they are important, Jim Harris, from EAAFP Partner International Crane Foundation, talked about the ecological and cultural significance of cranes and Lucia Choi led a calligraphy class focusing on migratory birds. Many of our Partners are planning their own WMBD events, some of which are supported by EAAFP WMBD Small Grants.

This year we are borrowing our theme “their future is our future” from the upcoming Twelfth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, to be held in the Philippines in October. Unlike previous years where the theme has had a single focus, this year it is more broad-ranging, emphasizing the shared dependence of migratory birds and people on the ecosystems, both natural and modified, that support us across the globe. Their future and our future requires careful stewardship of these places, so they can continue to provide the benefits we all require. There is no contradiction here: humans rely on the multiple ecosystem services contributed by wetlands and coasts and it makes sense to safeguard them. Not just waterbirds should thank us for this!

We have chosen to highlight two threatened migratory shorebirds, the Great Knot and the Red Knot, for our “Year of the Knots.” We have a travelling exhibit, following the knots (more or less) on their journeys, using the brilliant artwork of Janet Essley that we showcased in our EAAFP calendar last year. Tomoko has developed a series of events to mark this event, including securing sponsorship for some fantastic prizes for a drawing competition (well worth entering – but you have to be under 19 – pretty hard for me to get away with).

Great Knots are already here in Songdo, a stone’s throw away from our office, splendid in their summer dress. Red Knots are much rarer in Korea, but we did spot one last week. We wish them all a safe voyage!



Year of the Knots logo © Janet Essley / EAAFP

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