Although there are several Bird Days celebrated around the world, any day is a good day to celebrate birds.
Birds are beautiful, musical, important denizens of nature, fascinating to watch, and eat insect pests (they also eat my wildflower seeds). Oh, and they can fly.
During our short wet time, egrets can be seen in the marshy areas. They are tall, bright white birds, elegant in flight and on the ground. There is no hiding for the egret. It seems to stand there and say, “I am proud to be me” or maybe “look at me, look at me”. The egret is my favorite bird. My son Adam took the egret photo for my website header and this one.
The First Bird Day
Professor Charles A. Babcock, Superintendent of Schools in Oil City, Pennsylvania, is credited with initiating the first Bird Day on May 4, 1894. His book, Bird Day: How to Prepare for It, published in 1901, shares the history of the Bird Day movement, value of birds, destruction of birds, and a study plan for school children.
At the time, bird feathers, skins, and sometimes entire bodies were used to ornament hats and other articles of clothing. Millions of birds were being killed for fashion and bird habit was being lost as more land was cleared for development.
In order to build upon student’s interest in learning about birds and sharing their observations, Professor Babcock introduced a study plan that began in January and culminated on Bird Day in May.
National Bird Day
January 5, 2013, marked the 11th anniversary of National Bird Day, an initiative of Born Free USA, an animal welfare, and wildlife conservation organization. The purpose of National Bird Day is to inform the public and advocate for wild and pet bird welfare.
International Migratory Bird Day
International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) was created by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology to educate people about migratory birds, their importance in the environment, hazards they face, and ways to protect them.
The first IMBD was celebrated in 1993 at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service oversaw the event from 1995 until 2007 when the nonprofit Environment for the Americas assumed responsibility for coordinating International Migratory Bird Day.
Generally, IMBD is celebrated the 2nd Saturday in May in the U.S. and Canada, and the 2nd Saturday in October in Mexico, Central, and South America, and the Caribbean.
IMBD events are hosted by bird clubs, local, state, and national parks, schools, zoos, and community groups. Events range from bird walks to education programs, to festivals. In 2012, there were over 500 registered events.
World Migratory Bird Day
To build on the success of International Migratory Bird Day, mostly observed in the Americas, World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) was created for the rest of the world in 2006 by the Secretariat of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals.
World Migratory Bird Day is observed the 2nd weekend in May. In 2012, more than 250 events were registered in 81 countries around the world.
- Bird Day: How to Prepare for It, by Charles Babcock
- Born Free USA – National Bird Day
- Environment for the Americas (EFTA) – International Migratory Bird Day
- Library of Congress – The First Bird Day
- New York Times – Bird Day for Children, published in 1901
- UNEP/CMS & UNEP/AEWA Secretariats – World Migratory Bird Day
- Wikipedia – Bird Day