The conservation of migratory birds is a tricky affair. When I consulted ringers on whether the number of migratory birds is increasing or reducing, I got different responses. Edwin Gichuhi, a researcher at the National Museums of Kenya felt that it depended on different factors, “When there is enough manpower, we are likely to ring more migrant birds since we will set up more mist nets.”
In addition, he said that it is difficult to tell the conservation status of the birds en route. It is only possible to tell from the data on the countries they migrate from.
Chesire Dominick, another researcher from the Ornithology section (NMK), on the other hand, felt that with all factors considered, the number of migrant birds caught over the past years had significantly reduced. Although the hard numbers were not available at that moment, he based this on his experience as a bird ringer.
It is clear that the conservation of migrant birds is not the same as the conservation of local birds. However, all hope is not lost. It is now simple to conserve these migratory birds in the comfort of your bed. And no, nobody is asking you for money.
This is what you need to know
Birds migrate for different reasons, mainly in such of nesting and food resources. It is in the same way we travel to explore opportunities, to develop our careers or feed our current/future families. In Kenya, large populations of birds arrive from Europe between October and November and then leave between March and April.
How can you help?
With your eyes half-closed, you can join and volunteer with Friends of Landbirds Action Plan (FLAP). This is an online platform established to implement the African-Eurasian Migratory Landbirds Action Plan AEMLAP by enhancing awareness creation, education and information exchange on the conservation of Migratory Landbirds in the African–Eurasian Flyway region.
Migratory birds have been threatened by habitat degradation and loss, illegal trading and hunting, collisions, diseases and human-wildlife conflict.
That is why on the 10th Conference of Parties (CoP) of Convention of the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), AEMLAP was developed. This would help to address the declining conservation status of many migratory birds.
Whether you are part of a conservation club, researcher, conservationist, educator, student or a birdwatcher, you can make a difference in the conservation of these birds.
You are only needed to follow discussions, share relevant information and ideas with your social networks and follow FLAP on Facebook. These little lazy acts can save millions of migratory birds. Learning about them and sharing that information will make a huge impact.
Other additional ways
If you are willing to get out of bed and do some real conservation once in a while, there are things you can do for these birds. Some of the simple ways include keeping your pets inside the house, preventing window collisions by putting curtains on your windows, planting trees and keeping a clean environment around you. These little deeds end up saving the world migratory species. Don’t miss being part of it.