17 Sep 2008

BirdLife's World Bird Festival

By Nick Askew

The World Bird Festival is a BirdLife International initiative that takes place every two years. This global event highlights the vital role that birds play in the equilibrium of ecosystems, as well as their relationships with people.

  • Birds are beautiful, inspirational and international
  • Sensitive indicators of biological richness and environmental conditions
  • Vital for ecological functions in the natural environment
  • Economic and cultural value to people
  • Useful for promoting conservation awareness
  • Provide a useful means to improve our scientific knowledge and understanding of environment

Hundreds of organisations dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats participate in these celebrations. But the Festival is specially focused on involving people that are outside of the scope of these organisations, as a way of raising awareness on the importance of protecting birds and their habitats for the sake of the overall health of the environment. Any alteration of this delicate balance could result in the disappearance of numerous species that depends on them, as well as having serious repercussions for the human race.

The month-long festival, which is celebrated during October, counts on the participation of all people interested in celebrating the wonders of nature and birds with the aim of conserving them. Past events have included guided nature walks, indoor meetings, lectures, seminars and film showings – through to celebrating the wonder of birds with arts performances (music, theatre & poetry readings), children's events (face painting, bird costume making, painting competitions), and exhibitions (paintings, prints, photographs).

BirdLife International's first World Bird Festival was celebrated in 2001. It attracted over 300,000 people to more than 1,450 events in 88 countries, initially under the theme: “The Inspiration of Birds”. Since this beginning, the global event has expanded and it is now celebrated by people and organizations of all regions of the world including Africa, America, Asia, Europe, Middle East and Pacific.