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And When The Skies Fall Silent?


10.05.2016 - Astounding numbers of migratory birds are lost each year as a result of illegal killing, taking and trade. World Migratory Bird Day is a chance to inspire action towards the worldwide conservation of both migratory birds and their habitats. 

Ever heard of the saying ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’? Though we may take the dawn chorus and spring singing of birds for granted, shocking statistics of illicit activities that endanger our flying friends reveal the true precariousness of their situation.

Millions of birds are killed each year by illegal activities such as killing, taking and trade. These numbers are unsustainable and run alongside other pressures such as habitat loss and climate change. The sad truth is that many once common species are today threatened with extinction.

Governments around the world have passed both national laws and international treaties to regulate and in some cases prohibit the exploitation of these animals. These laws need to be respected and enforced, or we run the risk of losing a precious resource which is part of our shared natural heritage.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon states, “Migratory birds are symbols of the inter-connectedness of life on earth. Their annual migration across countries and continents inspire people of all ages, all over the world…As we celebrate these nomads of the sky, let us act on earth to secure their future – and ours”.


On and around 10 May 2016, dedicated organisations, governments and people around the world are planning events to mark World Migratory Bird Day, celebrating migratory birds and raising awareness about the need for their conservation. Since this global campaign began in 2006 events have been held in over 140 countries.

The campaign is organised by the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) - two intergovernmental environmental treaties administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Supporting this action are a number of key partners (UNEP, BirdLife International, EAAFP, CIC, Wetlands International).  

Birding at Limboto Lake by Rosyid Azhar

Birding at Limboto Lake by Rosyid Azhar, Indonesia.

This year, the organisation “Gorontalo Biodiversity Forum” (GBF) in Indonesia created and promoted both the winning video and the registered event. The GBF forum has united local villagers in campaigning against bird poaching across the sea and now officially have support from the local police. The success of their action represents a strong message to world on Migratory Bird Day 2016, that the mistreatment of migratory birds will not be tolerated.

Want to join in? Find events near you. Also check out the campaign’s Facebook page and don’t forget to, wait for it, tweet! @WMBD


UNRICs related links:

·  Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) 

·  United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 

·  Webcast WMBD 


One & two: WMBD video 

Three: WMBD 

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