World Migratory Bird Day: 11 May & 12 October 2019

Sat 11/05/19 - Sat 12/10/19

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) was initiated in 2006 and is an annual awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. 2018 was an important transition year in the history of WMBD - unifying the planet’s major migratory bird corridors, or flyways: the African-Eurasian flyway, the East Asian-Australasian flyway, and the Americas flyways. Celebrated from now on twice a year, on the Second Saturday in May and in October, WMBD aims to reach out to a broader audience and amplify its message for bird conservation.

Every year people around the world take action and organize public events such as bird festivals, education programmes, exhibitions and bird-watching excursions to celebrate WMBD. All these activities can also be undertaken at any time on the year because that countries or regions observing the peak of migrations at different times, but the main days for the international celebrations in 2019 are Saturday 11 May and Saturday 12 October.

The theme for WMBD 2018, which also took place in the “Year of the Bird”, was “Unifying our Voices for Bird Conservation” and focused clearly and strongly on the development of its new identity and the need for people celebrating WMBD around the world to communicate and learn from each other, across borders, within and between the world's flyways.


2019 celebrations


The theme for WMBD 2019 is "Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution!"

With an annual production of more than 300m tonnes, plastic is one of the most widely used materials in the world. Lightweight and designed to last, discarded pieces of plastic are easily transported to ecosystems through the forces of nature causing serious threats to migratory species around the world. To make matters worse, plastic does not simply dissolve. Broken down into small particles by water, sunlight and wind, it often leads to lethal cases of ingestion and entanglement.

The number of seabirds dying from the effects of plastic every year is currently 1 million and growing. Existing research pinpoints the urgency of the matter: In just two decades, between 1960 and 1980, the number of birds found ingesting plastic has grown from 5% to 80%.

Studies show that local projects on the management of plastic waste produce results in a short period of time. Thus, common sense and awareness can help to curb the giant tide of plastic. The international community needs to take urgent action to mitigate unnecessary injuries and mortality of migratory birds due to plastic pollution. World Migratory Bird Day 2019 is a unique chance to join efforts to address the serious problem of plastic pollution and to highlight its negative effects on migratory birds. Let’s unite our voices to address this rapidly growing environmental concern!

What to do to fight plastic pollution

  • Reduce, reuse and recycle - Limit your use of plastic materials and replace them with eco-friendly alternatives, use and dispose of plastics sustainably
  • Clean up - Join clean-up activities in your area, whether at beaches or along rivers
  • Spread the word - Support local and global action against plastic

For more information on this year’s celebrations, please visit the WMBD website.