As the World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is celebrated today, the Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS) has been engaging students at the basic level on bird conservation, as part of activities to mark the day.

The WMBD is an annual awareness-raising campaign to celebrate and highlight the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. It has a global outreach with an effective tool to help raise global awareness of the threats faced by migratory birds, their ecological importance, and the need for international cooperation to conserve them. This day is celebrated twice a year, in May and October, signifying that birds migrate twice per year, in two directions (South to North and vice versa), and in two seasons.

“Sing, Fly, Soar – Like a Bird” is the theme for this year’s WMBD, an invitation to people everywhere to connect and re-connect with nature by actively listening to and watching birds wherever they are. At the same time, the theme appeals to people around the world to use their own voices and creativity to express their shared appreciation of birds and nature.

A statement by the GWS said, an indoor activity was organized for school children, taking into consideration all COVID-19 protocols. The children were taken through presentations on bird conservation. At least 150 wildlife club members, five teachers and a volunteer participated in the awareness campaign. The schools visited were the Prince of Peace Presby School in Tema, the Sakumono School Complex “2” J.H.S., and the Mexico “2” JHS also in Tema. “On the same day, the Conservation Education Officer also gave a talk on ‘Collaborating to Conserve Migratory Birds in Africa’, a webinar organised by the Birdlife International and the African CSOs Biodiversity Alliance”, it added.

“In addition, the Conservation Education Officer, Louisa Kabobah also participated in another virtual event organized by the Birdlife International partnership. On 5th May, she represented Ghana as speaker for the Birdlife International Webinar series on Engaging Future Generations in Migratory Bird Conservation. The title of her presentation was ‘Spring Alive: Nurturing the Young for Migratory Birds”, the statement said.

As part of activities lined up today, an online quiz will be organised on GWS Facebook channel to educate and get people to take action for migratory birds and their habitats. In addition, newspaper and online media articles will be published to raise awareness on migratory birds among the general public.

“It is our hope that through our collaborative efforts and getting our children to learn more about the ecological importance of migratory birds, more children and adults can begin to show more concern for birds, and their habitats and take actions to conserve them and the environment”, the statement added.

The monthly Bird walk experience

In order to give Ghanaians the experience to walk to different sites to see a variety of bird species, the GWS has been organizing scheduled on the first Saturday of every month where amateur and other bird enthusiasts travel by foot for a bird tour. A guide takes the birders through basic bird identification techniques such as visual IDs, habitat and behaviour clues among others.

About birds

Birds are remarkable species. They can travel hundreds to thousands of kilometres to find conducive environments to feed, nest their young and breed. Birds migrate to flee extreme weather conditions and explore reliable food sources. In Africa, some migrate within the region and some, beyond the region. As they move from one place to another, they face various threats such as habitat destruction, collisions, pollution, climate change and poaching which have led to population declines in recent years. To this effect, the Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Water birds (AEWA) in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) initiated the World Migratory Bird Day in 2006.