World Migratory Bird Day Celebrated at Musanze in Rwanda
World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is a global initiative devoted to celebrating migratory birds and to promoting their conservation worldwide. The Fossey Fund’s Karisoke Research Center and the Tropical Biology Association (TBA) in Rwanda organised a bird watching program of their own on May 9 to celebrate the special day, focusing on “migratory birds in crisis” during the International Year of Biodiversity. This year’s theme is “Save migratory birds in crisis – every species counts!”
As part of the commemoration, Karisoke and TBA-Rwanda joined the environment club of Musanze high school, and more than 40 birders and enthusiasts participated. Prior to the start of the bird-watching activity, Deo Tuyisingize, biodiversity program coordinator at Karisoke and coordinator of the TBA-Rwanda alumni, spoke about the importance of birds in general and migratory birds in particular, as well as what can be done for the protection of their habitats and the threats they are facing. Students asked many questions on how local people can help to save birds in general and how human population growth, industrial technology and climate change are harmful to migratory birds. All of these threats can lead to habitat destruction and block migration paths, which leads to further problems. Afterwards, the students were invited to take part in a real bird-watching experience, with Karisoke staff helping students to identify the birds being observed, and how to use bird guide books and binoculars. The bird watchers recorded 35 different birds during this time.
World Migratory Bird Day aims to inspire people to take action for the conservation of migratory birds and encourages national authorities, non-governmental organizations, clubs and societies, universities, schools and individuals around the world to organize events and programs, which help draw attention to migratory birds around a central theme each year.
Submitted by Deo Tuyisingize, Karisoke Research Center