IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


15th May, 2023 Environment

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  • World Migratory Bird Day - celebrated on the second Saturday in May and the second Saturday in October - is an annual global campaign dedicated to raising awareness of migratory birds and the need for international cooperation to conserve them.


  • World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats.
  • It has a global outreach and is an effective tool to help raise global awareness of the threats faced by migratory birds, their ecological importance, and the need for international cooperation to conserve them.

Organising entities

  • WMBD is organized by a collaborative partnership among two UN treaties -the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) -and the non-profit organization, Environment for the Americas (EFTA).

Yearly Theme and Events

  • Twice a year, World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated under a specific theme.
    • 2023: Water | 13 May & 14 October
    • 2022: Light Pollution | 14 May & 8 October
    • 2021: Sing, Fly, Soar – Like a Bird! | 8 May & 9 October
    • 2020: Birds Connect Our World | 9 May & 10 October

The Importance of Migratory Birds

  • Over 2,000 species − 20% of all known bird species – travel long distances to breed and feed.
  • They fly hundreds and thousands of kilometres to find the best ecological conditions and habitats for feeding, breeding and raising their young.
  • When conditions at breeding sites become unfavourable, it is time to fly to regions where conditions are better.
  • There are many different migration patterns.
  • The majority of birds migrate from northern breeding areas to southern wintering grounds. However, some birds breed in southern parts of Africa and migrate to northern wintering grounds, or horizontally, to enjoy the milder coastal climates in winter.
  • Other birds reside on lowlands during the winter months and move up a mountain for the summer.
  • Because they travel long distances, migratory birds have crucial roles across different regions – maintaining natural ecosystems and sustaining people’s livelihoods.
  • These birds don’t just control the numbers of pests and insects that would otherwise plague our natural environments and our crops – many serve as pollinators, moving seeds and nutrients across the world.
  • In fact, the seeds of over 90% of all woody tree species are moved around by birds.

Why Migratory Birds need protection?

  • Migration involves a wide range of threats, often caused by human activities.
  • Climate change, habitat loss, and plastic pollution are just a few of the diverse threats that birds face.
  • As migratory birds depend on a range of sites along their distribution area, the loss of wintering and stopover sites could have a dramatic impact on the birds’ chances of survival.
  • Flying long distances involves crossing many borders between countries with differing environmental politics, legislation and conservation measures.
  • Thus, international cooperation among governments, NGOs and other stakeholders is required along the entire flyway of a species in order to share knowledge and coordinate conservation efforts.

International organizations in Geneva engaged in the protection and conservation of bird species

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

  • CITES is a multilateral agreement aiming to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.
  • The convention currently forbids international commercial trade of 161 bird species (listed in Appendix I) and regulates trade for another 1,300 more species under specific controlled circumstances (listed in Appendix II).

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

  • IUCN is the world’s largest conservation network with the mission to influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature.
  • The IUCN Red List is the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global extinction risk status of animal, fungus and plant species.
  • It provides essential data for informed conservation decisions – including for protecting some endangered migratory bird species.

Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention)

  • The Ramsar Convention aims to ensure the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world.
  • Wetlands provide vital habitats for many bird species, and they are important to migratory birds in flyways, in nesting areas, and in fall and winter feeding areas.
  • Populations of waterbirds thus are part of the criteria for wetlands to be considered internationally important under the Ramsar Convention.

WWF International

  • WWF works on numerous projects around the world to address the many issues that threaten bird species.
  • These efforts include increasing the amount of protected areas to limit habitat loss, seeking strong international laws that reduce the illegal bird trade, and constantly working to build awareness about the incredible diversity of bird species and the importance of protecting them.


Q) Which of the following conventions deal with the protection of migratory birds?

1. Minamata Convention.


3. Ramsar Convention.

  1. 1 and 2
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 3
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Correct Answer: 2