Poster above by artist Omar Custodio Azabache
What is World Migratory Bird Day?
Each year Potter Park Zoo hosts a daylong event to bring awareness to migratory birds and conserving them. The theme for the 2022 event is focused on migratory birds that are active at night and are affected by light pollution. Through various activities, pledge opportunities, and arts and crafts, visitors can learn all about these birds and how we can help migratory birds survive.
What is Migration, and Why do Birds Migrate?
Migration is the process of animals moving, usually seasonally, from one geographic location to another. Oftentimes this movement is in search of warmer weather during the colder months, food, and for mating. Birds, such as the featured birds for this year’s event, migrate for optimum breeding, food, and shelter to ensure their survival.
The Problem with Light Pollution
Light pollution is artificial light produced by human development such as street lights, security lights, and commercial advertisements that interfere with the natural balance of light and dark in ecosystems. Migratory birds are negatively affected by light pollution as their flight patterns at night are oftentimes interrupted and altered by overexposure to the artificial light. Millions of these birds have suffered in collisions with buildings and other human infrastructure, and have exhausted their energy reserves when circling areas of high light pollution that disorientate their natural instincts.
So What Can We Do to Help?
There are small actions people can take in their homes such as reducing light usage by turning outside lights off, changing the color of lights from cool to warm, directing light downwards and away from the view of birds from above, and advocating for more widespread use of these methods in your local community.
We can also help decrease the effects of light pollution by promoting campaigns such as World Migratory Bird Day events that directly support the cause.
Visit Potter Park Zoo on Saturday, June 4, 2022 for an enjoyable, interactive learning experience, and don’t forget to “Dim the Lights for Birds at Night”!
Ambassadors of the 2022 World Migratory Bird Day Event
From the top from left to right:
Black-crowned Night-Heron, Magnolia Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Markham’s Storm-Petrel, Baltimore Oriole, Lesser Yellowlegs, and Ruddy Duck.
Burrowing Owl, Western Tanager, Dark-billed Cuckoo, and Swainson’s Thrush.
Bird Images Sourced by:
Blog Post Written by Sophie Riley, Conservation Education Intern