I know what you are asking: When and what is World Migratory Bird Day? Why celebrate it? Don’t birds migrate twice a year?
They do! World Migratory Bird Day happens twice a year, on the second Saturdays in May and October, to celebrate the spring and fall migrations respectively. World Migratory Bird Day has its roots in a 1990’s project started by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center to draw attention to declining bird populations and changes in migratory patterns. Each year a conservation theme is selected to focus on one aspect of the environment that impacts bird migration.
For 2022, the conservation theme is nighttime light pollution. Many bird species migrate at night, and can be drawn off course by the bright lights of urban areas. Lights in and on tall buildings are of particular concern, but nighttime light pollution from any source can impact birds and other members of the animal kingdom.
The Bay Area is home to millions of individual birds, both permanent and migratory, and is the perfect place to learn about birds and to support conservation efforts. Our warm winters and abundant food sources allow over 250 species of migratory birds to call the Bay Area home for the winter, making the spring migration the time to say goodbye as they fly to nesting sites in Canada and Alaska.
So step outside and stand still a moment. Listen for the sounds of birds and look around for our feathered friends. It won’t be long before you begin to recognize the permanent residents and are able to wish safe travels to those returning to distant lands. And perhaps turn out a light or pull a blind to help them on their way.
To learn more about birds and celebrate World Migratory Bird Day:
- Visit the World Migratory Bird Day website
- Check out the Golden Gate Audubon Society for local birding events and information
- Join Miss Polina for Read and Play at Home: Birds (virtual, 5/3/22 at 11:00 am, Preschool and Kids
- Attend Shorebird Migration with Bob Lewis (virtual, 5/14/22 at 10:00 am, Adults)
- Stop by the Union City Library to pick up a coloring sheet
Find titles that celebrate all things birds:
Interested in birds and learning about bird behaviour? Watching our feathered friends from your window or at your local park is the perfect place to start. Here are a few books to get you on your way.