Saturday, May 18th is World Migratory Bird Day. Susan Bonfield, Director of Environment Americas, which is co presenting an event at the St. Vrain State Park on Saturday, says migratory birds are facing many challenges. “It’s very difficult to be a migratory bird.”
Bonfield says there are many factors that threaten birds as they migrate north and south and as they stop and rest and refuel. “This year we’re focusing on the impacts of plastic pollution and that of course has a big impact on many migratory birds, and there’s a big focus on marine species right now but it also impacts some of those species that we see inland such as Osprey. Entanglement or ingestion of plastics can kill migratory species. In addition big buildings with glass pane windows are difficult because birds don’t see pane glass and so many are killed when they fly into windows during migration, and at times when they’re not migrating as well but migration is a particularly difficult time.”
Most migratory species that are present now in Colorado include warblers and osprey. Bonfield says these migratory birds have needed to alter their patterns as the weather and seasons continue to change as a result of climate change. This results in several species of birds arriving earlier in the year. One example of this is broad tailed hummingbirds. Their primary source of food are flowering plants which have begun to bloom earlier in the year.
Bonfield says there are different things that can be done to help migratory birds. “There are definitely many policies that we could work towards that would help protect migratory birds and other wildlife, as well as ourselves. And we’ve worked on some of that, so I think that we’re seeing, because of the increased awareness of the impacts of plastic pollution, we’re seeing more plastic bag bans and we’re seeing more say no to straws, plastic straws.We’re seeing a lot of people changing their behaviors so that they’re using fewer plastics in their personal lives and as they shop and as they go about their daily lives and I think those are all wonderful ways to help reduce the impacts on migratory birds and other species.”
The celebration in honor of World Migratory Bird Day will again take place at the St. Vrain State Park from 9 am to 1:30 pm. At the event, there will be lots of things for people of all ages to participate in from learning about different migratory birds to bird-watching and more. That’s this Saturday, May 18th.