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Happy World Migratory Bird Day

By Dr. Charles Clarkson

On Saturday, May 14, we will celebrate "World" Migratory Bird Day. I use quotation marks around the word World because May 14 is officially World Migratory Bird Day only in the United States and Canada. Central and South America, along with the Caribbean celebrate the holiday in October, as neotropical migrants stream back into the tropics for the nonbreeding season. May 14 would be more accurately referred to as "North America Migratory Bird Day".

While it is always great to take a moment out of our lives to celebrate our feathered friends, our attention, passion and work should consider birds throughout the year. Indeed, a great number of people will spend the day out celebrating Migratory Bird Day on May 14: some will help collect data, others will participate in a bird walk, and most will return to "life as usual" on the 15th. The truth is, birds need your participation in their conservation on a daily basis. The job of being a bird is arguably harder now that at any point in their long evolution and each and every one of us has the power to make a difference in the lives of birds.

While not everyone works with birds full-time, we can all proceed with our lives being mindful of our actions and their impacts on birds and the habitats they rely on. Recycling, eating less meat and purchasing certified bird-friendly coffee are just some steps that everyone can take that will have measurable impacts on bird populations the world over.

Migratory birds do deserve a great deal of our respect and appreciation. We shouldn't show that on a single day in May, but rather we should make everyday "World Migratory Bird Day."

The advent of social media has allowed us to use these single-day celebrations as campaigns to raise overall awareness. A quick look through the material posted over the past month to social media by many environmental organizations highlights Migratory Bird Day and provides statistics and reading material aimed at bringing attention to the myriad conservation issues all birds face today.

I hope you will all take some time to enjoy birds and celebrate tomorrow's holiday and then wake up on Sunday, May 15 to do it again. And I hope each and every one of your days will be filled with action taken on your part, to conserve our most important birdlife.

Celebrate "World Migratory Bird Day" tomorrow and everyday. Stay involved, make wise choices and be an ally to all of the birds that need advocates.

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