Take someone under your wing this World Migratory Bird Day
Birding is better with a friend, which is why this World Migratory Bird Day (October 8th) we are asking you to take someone under your wing and head out to experience the joys of birdwatching together. Through birdwatching, you can also contribute to bird conservation, find out how…
The joys of birdwatching
If you asked a room full of people why they enjoy birdwatching you would get a range of answers, from the thrill of the challenge of spotting as many species as possible to the sense of calm that listening to birdsong can bring. We are likely all in agreement that spending time in nature is enjoyable, and there is increasing evidence that it can benefit our mental wellbeing. A study in Ecological Economics showed a clear correlation between happiness and number of bird species found around their homes. Another in the Journal of Environmental Psychology interviewed a group of people and found that birdsong was the type of natural sound most often associated with stress recovery and attention restoration.
Birdwatching can also connect you to your local community and combat loneliness, whether you join a local birding group, get chatting to strangers in a bird hide or head out on a hike with a friend or relative. That’s why this World Migratory Bird Day (Saturday 8th October), we are encouraging everyone to take a friend birding and experience the joys of birdwatching together.
How what you see can contribute to bird conservation
If you’re up for an extra challenge, you can even submit the birds that you see online to contribute to bird conservation research around the world. Recordings of bird sightings help scientists keep track of how bird numbers are changing around the globe and can identify which species are under threat, allowing conservation action to be effectively targeted.
Sightings can be submitted to eBird, the largest citizen science platform in the world where over 100 million bird sightings are contributed each year by birders. eBird archives this information which is freely available to power data-driven approaches to conservation. Making the experience fun and rewarding for the birder is prioritised too, for example you can use the app to manage lists of your sightings, photos and audio recordings and even see real-time maps of species distribution.
Tips for successful and ethical birdwatching
Birdwatching is for everyone, so don’t worry if you don’t have fancy equipment or extensive knowledge about birds – all you need is enthusiasm and respect for nature. Here are some tips to get you started:
• A priority when birdwatching should always be to ensure minimal disturbance to birds and their habitats, and their wellbeing should never be compromised to get a good sighting or photograph. Don’t get too close, never disturb their nests, and avoid blocking their route back to the nest. This can prevent parents from returning to their chicks, leaving them hungry and at greater risk of predation. Also, try to stay on roads and paths when possible, so as not to trample vegetation or ground nests.
• You don’t need to travel far to enjoy birdwatching as one of the many incredible things about birds is that we can see them everywhere! You can head out to a forest or nature reserve, or just watch out from your kitchen window. No matter where you see a bird, submitting your sightings is always useful information, whether it’s at a National Park or your local bus stop.
• Birds are easily startled by loud noises, so to increase your chances of exciting sightings you need to be as quiet as possible and avoid sudden movements. This way, you’re more likely to hear their songs and calls too. Patience is also key, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t immediately spot lots of species – persevering will pay off!
• Identifying birds takes practice. There are thousands of different species of bird, so don’t pressure yourself to know them all! Use a guidebook or the Merlin app to help with your identification or take a photo if you can and ask a friend to help to figure out the species.
Will you join us and head out on 8th October for World Migratory Bird Day to observe the wonders of birds and migration? We would love to hear about your experience and see your birdwatching photos which you can share by tagging us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!
In a game-changer for conservation, Cornell Lab of Ornithology and BirdLife International join forces to integrate BirdLife Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) into eBird.
On World Migratory Bird Day, we celebrate one of nature’s greatest wonders – bird migration. Twice a year, we marvel at this extraordinary spectacle as migratory birds undertake epic journeys around the globe, connecting and inspiring people along the way.
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