3 Sep 2015

Africa, it’s your turn – migratory birds need you!

Spring Alive event in Cameroon. Photo: CBCS
Spring Alive event in Cameroon. Photo: CBCS
By Shaun Hurrell

Make your garden, balcony or school bird-friendly with Spring Alive

Migratory birds have already started arriving in Africa after their epic migrations from Europe and Asia. Nature is getting ready for their arrival; are you?

Nature is providing things that birds will need: budding leaves and fruits; taking insects to the air; trickling water. Millions of birds fly enormous distances every year to feed in Africa and escape the cold winter, and they need your support too. Click here for 10 reasons to get involved!

All along their migratory routes, children and adults are excitedly preparing for the arrival of birds with Spring Alive, an international project that launches its 2015 African season this week. Spring Alive is a BirdLife educational conservation initiative organised by OTOP (BirdLife in Poland) that encourages children to take action for the conservation of the migratory birds they learn about.

“At this time of year, people of Africa need to celebrate and care for their amazing migratory birds; and the people of Europe and Asia will return the favour next spring,”

says Karolina Kalinowska, Spring Alive Coordinator.

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This year Spring Alive wants you to make your garden or balcony bird-friendly to help support tired birds on their magnificent migrations! We need you to spring to action and make bird boxes, bird feeders and look after your birds as they arrive. Spring Alive educational events and web pages teach children and adults how. With a record number of 6.4million people reached through Spring Alive this year, this is potentially a strong force for the celebration and care of migratory birds on the African-Eurasian flyway.

As well as the bird-friendly garden theme this year, every year by posting their first sightings of Barn Swallow, White Stork, Common Cuckoo, Common Swift, and European Bee-eater on the website, children from Europe, Central Asia and Africa create a real-time map of the incredible journeys these birds take every year. As well as by these migratory routes, Eurasian and African schools are also connected with matching initiatives like ‘Spring Twin’.

Migratory birds face threats from climate change including drought and mis-timing of the emergence of insects; agriculture; urbanisation; and hunting. With appreciation and support of local children and adults, hopefully these birds can find enough food and shelter to continue to return year after year.

Children in Botswana enjoying a successful Spring Alive event last year. Photo: Spring Alive

Spring alive for birds! How you can get involved with Spring Alive in Africa this year:

  1. Check the Spring Alive events calendar and birds events map on the website to go to an event near you.
  2. Share in the wonder of birds with others from Europe to Asia to Africa. Share your photos of migratory birds, Spring Alive events, birds in your garden, and actions to make your gardens/balconies bird-friendly on the Spring Alive facebook Keep checking it for exciting photos and facts about the migratory species you can see, and tips on how to help them. 
  3. Get outside and take photos of migratory birds and birds in your garden as later this year we will be holding a photo competition on our flickr
  4. What would your ideal bird-friendly garden look like? Enter the “A Perfect Garden” drawing contest to show us and you could win a pair of binoculars, supplied by Opticron. Other prizes include a White Stork wall clock and bird book. Enter at
  5. Record your observations of Barn Swallow, White Stork, Common Cuckoo, Common Swift, and European Bee-eater on the website.

Spring Alive was successful in 2015 in Europe & Asia; now Africa it is your turn!:

  • Over 6.4 million people reached
  • 104 371 observations
  • 629 events held (333 outdoors, 296 indoors)
  • 55 conservation actions organised
  • At least 185 new members gained for BirdLife Partners
  • 10th anniversary of the European season of the project took place this year
  • Over 3,400 teachers helped children learn about Spring Alive species and the phenomenon of bird migration
  • 54,694 children and 13,113 adults directly engaged in Spring Alive
  • 455 volunteers directly involved in Spring Alive activities

Spring Alive is an international campaign to encourage children’s interest in nature and the conservation of migratory birds. Spring Alive is organised by OTOP, the BirdLife Partner in Poland, on behalf of the BirdLife Partnership. Wildlife groups, teachers and others who would like to become more involved in Spring Alive should contact the International Manager, Karolina Kalinowska, at

For more information go to:

Follow Spring Alive on facebookYouTube and flickr.

Spring Alive project would not be possible without the great support of The Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe and Africa (MCFEA), Spring Alive’s main sponsor. The aims of the MCFEA are to encourage the appreciation and conservation of flora and fauna with an emphasis on endangered species.

Thanks also to our competition sponsors Opticron and Meopta-optika, s.r.o. for providing binoculars as prizes.