Ted Cheskey, Nature Canada's bird conservation manager, calls on Canadians to welcome back the birds this spring.
International migratory bird day (IMBD) is celebrated across the western hemisphere through bird festivals, bird walks and other activities.
IMBD celebrates a migratory bird’s spectacular migration between winter and summer grounds. Some birds travel thousands of miles to reach their destination. For example, the arctic tern will cover 70,800 km in its round-trip journey from the Arctic to the Antarctic!
IMBD is celebrated in the spring in Canada and the United States, often during the second week of May, and in the fall in the Caribbean and South America.
Nature Canada is celebrating IMBD this year with the publication of educational bookmarks and posters that bring awareness and appreciation for our shared birds. We encourage you to download these materials and share them with your family and friends!
As a Canadian co-partner of Birdlife International’s Important Bird Areas program with Bird Studies Canada, Nature Canada is protecting and conserving local and migratory birds across the country.
Read more about our on-the-ground efforts to improve protections for birds and bird habitat on our blog.
1. Prevent Window Collisions Birds will fly into windows because they see nature reflected in the glass. Make your home or cottage windows visible to birds by applying UV reflective window decals, or strips or blocks of tape, or hanging exterior netting in front of particularly deadly windows. In the spring and fall, turn off exterior lights and draw curtains at night to prevent migratory birds from colliding with windows. For more information on how you can help, visit Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) and the American Bird Conservancy.
2. Protect Birds from Pets Keeping your cat in a controlled space will prevent it from killing
birds. Unleashed dogs in natural habitat can harm birds too, disturbing, chasing, and even killing them.
Migrating birds and young birds just out of the nest are especially vulnerable.
3. Create a Healthy Yard for Birds Avoid using pesticides and herbicides in your yard as they are harmful to birds and the food they eat. Provide birds with food, nest sites and cover by planting native plants. Leave leaves under trees and shrubs – they make excellent foraging sites. Provide and maintain a source of clean water and keep feeders clean and disease-free by changing seed regularly. Check out these tips on how to make your yard bird-friendly, plus detailed information on what types of plants are native to Southern Ontario.
4. Leave Fledglings Where You Find Them Fledglings may spend several days on the ground after they leave the nest and before they can fly. Help them by keeping people and pets away, so their parents can care for them. If you think a bird is truly an orphan, call a wildlife rehabilitation centre for advice. Not sure if an animal is sick, injured orphaned? Check out these tips on what to do if you find an animal in distress.
5. Learn and Respect Canada’s Bird Laws The federal Migratory Bird Convention Act, and provincial wildlife laws protect birds, their nests and eggs from harm, capture and possession in Canada.
It is also illegal to purchase, keep or trade threatened species of wildlife from other countries without permit. Learn more about Canada's bird laws.
6. Make Your City Bird-Friendly City Parks, ravines, and open spaces are natural places for migrant and resident birds. Work with your community to restore the habitat that once existed in your area and reduce risks to birds. Get City Council to recognize International Migratory Bird Day and declare your city “Bird Friendly.” This year the city of Vancouver will recognize a similar significant day for birds - World Migrtory Bird Day - with a series of events.
7. Slow Down When Driving Cars kill millions of birds each year. Driving within speed limits gives you more time to respond to animals on the road and sounding your horn warns animals that you are coming and gives them time to get out of the way. Explore this issue in-depth.
8. Buy Bird-Friendly Products Support bird conservation by purchasing shade-grown organic coffee and chocolate from Latin America. Shade coffee farms mimic native forests
and support more bird species than sun coffee farms.
9. Help Get Kids Into Nature Help kids connect with nature by taking them for a walk in
a park or sponsoring their membership to a young naturalist club. Help schools make school yards
more interesting and more natural by supporting their efforts with donations of time and plants. Young naturalist clubs exist across Canada. Get in touch with your local club:
Prince Edward Island
10. Be a Citizen Scientist Many projects need helpers to gather data on birds and their habitat. You can contribute just by watching your bird feeder. Visit an Important Bird Area and enter your observations on eBird. Contact your local naturalist group, Nature Canada or Bird Studies Canada,
to volunteer for a project that suits you.
11. Reduce Energy Use Riding your bike or walking reduces your carbon footprint and prevents pollution of bird habitats. Switching off the lights in your house saves energy and also helps prevent birds from colliding with your windows.
12. Support Groups that Protect Birds Support groups that work to protect birds by volunteering your time or making a donation. Why not participate in the Baillie Birdathon or
le Grand Défi (in Quebec) and join birders in a bird count that supports bird conservation? Help keep common birds common and endangered birds protected!
IMBD is a project of Environment for the Americas (EFTA), and was created by Partners in Flight (PIF) to focus public attention on the need for action to conserve birds and their habitats. Nature Canada is a proud partner of IMBD.