White Pelican - Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
World Migratory Bird Day 2023 focuses on water and its importance to bird life.
Water is fundamental to sustaining life on our planet. Virtually all migratory birds rely on water and its associated habitats at some point during their life cycles. Lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, wetlands, and coastal waters are all vital for feeding, drinking, or nesting, and as places to rest and refuel during long seasonal migrations.
Unfortunately, these aquatic ecosystems are becoming increasingly threatened around the world, and so are the migratory birds that depend on them. The increasing human demand for water, as well as pollution and climate change, is having a direct impact on the quantity and quality of water resources and on the conservation status of many migratory bird species.
In 2023, the importance of water is the focus of World Migratory Bird Day, an annual global campaign that celebrates the migration of birds across countries and continents. Throughout the year, we will spread the message that “water sustains bird life” and provide actions for managing water resources and protecting healthy aquatic ecosystems.
Northern Shoveler - Anas clypeata
The Birds of World Migratory Bird Day 2023
Ten bird species have been selected to serve as ambassadors and help tell the story of the importance of water to birds, representing not only the diversity of birds but also the variety of ways in which birds depend on healthy aquatic ecosystems. Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata) and American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) remind us that many species need wetlands and open water for migration, wintering, and breeding. Some birds require specific types of water habitats, such as the salty lakes that Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) uses during migration and winter, the swampy woodlands favored by Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis), or the shaded streams along which the Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) nests. Water is essential for the survival of insects pursued by the Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), the growth of nectar-producing plants frequented by the Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), and the health of grasslands inhabited by the Dickcissel (Spiza americana). The Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) represents the oceans that make up 97% of all water on earth. Finally, the Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) serves as a conservation success story, reminding us that bird population declines can be reversed when we work together to conserve and protect our planet
Osprey - Pandion haliaetus
Easy Ways You Can Help Conserve and Protect Water
Never let the water run
Shut off the faucet while brushing your teeth, take shorter showers instead of baths, wash only full loads of laundry, and consider using a dishwasher instead of hand washing. These tweaks to your daily routine may seem insignificant, but they can help save thousands of gallons of water a month.
Plant a native garden
Lawns are unnatural and high maintenance, but flowers, grasses, and shrubs native to your area have naturally adapted to thrive without frequent watering. They are also better for the soil and provide food and habitat for birds and other wildlife. If you do keep a lawn, use a well-maintained sprinkler system, and water the grass only when needed.
Keep the water clean
Never litter—poorly managed trash ends up in our waterways. Use fewer chemicals and fertilizers in your yard. And consider joining clean-up activities in your area, at beaches or along rivers.
Get involved locally
Work with community leaders to find ways to address water conservation challenges in your area. Support local initiatives to protect wetlands and other critical habitats for birds and people.