Saturday, April 9, 2011

World Migratory Bird Day – Land use changes from a bird’s eye view

The flight of millions of birds migrating from the colder regions to warm natural habitats around the world is a phenomenal event that takes place every year. This provides an annual opportunity to the bird lovers and bird watchers to find beautiful birds from far across the globe in their countries for a period lasting almost six months. I have myself witnessed black swans and many other types of birds flying overhead in a wetland in the desert area down south Rahim Yar Khan, almost on the border of Sind and Punjab provinces of Pakistan. This was one such sanctuary that attracts migratory birds from CARs to Pakistan.

The World Migratory Bird Day is dedicated to these guests that visit countries far from their own for their protection, egg laying and hatching. The day was initiated in 2006 as a global awareness-raising campaign highlighting the need for the protection of migratory birds and their habitats.  The day is observed on the second weekend of May, which involves bird lovers to help raise awareness around a specific theme.

The theme for 2011 is "Land use changes from a bird's-eye view", that centres dangers imposed on the natural habitat of the migratory birds in the form of wetlands that are fast shrinking due to conversion of these areas into agricultural land, expansion of cites and building of roads and other infrastructures, dams. Migratory bird populations are particularly sensitive to land use and studies reveal that this is the major threat they are facing.

In Pakistan, there is much more to be done as the wetlands spread all over the country in extreme danger in falling prey to expanding cities and converting these areas for agriculture and other uses.

Although the day is almost a month ahead, the purpose of this post is to create awareness of the people on the importance of conservation of the wetlands to allow our guests safe habitats on their arrival and provide a second home each year, lest these divert to other lands depriving us of their hospitality.

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