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World Migratory Bird Day 2023 – May 13

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World Migratory Bird Day - May 13 2023

United Nations (UN)’s (backed campaign) World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is annually observed across the globe on 2 occasions (2 peak days each year), the 2nd Saturday in May and in October, to raise awareness about the importance of migratory birds and their conservation.

World Migratory Bird Day 2023 falls on 13th May 2023 and 14th October 2023.

  • World Migratory Bird Day 2022 was observed on 14th May & 8th October 2022.
  • World Migratory Bird Day 2024 will be observed on 11th May & 12th October 2024.

The Theme of World Migratory Bird Day 2023 is “Water: Sustaining Bird Life”. It was also the campaign slogan of WMBD 2023.

  • Activities to mark the campaign will be held globally on two peak days in May and October under the theme of WMBD 2023.
  • WMBD 2023 campaign focuses on water and its significance for migratory birds.

The annual observance of the WMBD is led by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the leading environmental authority in the UN system.


  • 2nd Saturday of May- celebrated in the United States of America (USA)
  • 2nd Saturday of October- celebrated in Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean.


i. The idea of World Migratory Bird Day was 1st originated in the USA in 1993.

ii. WMBD was initiated in 2006 by a collaborative partnership among 2 UN wildlife treaties, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) and the non-profit organization, Environment for the Americas (EFTA).

  • The day was initiated on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the AEWA in 2005, which was held in Africa, Europe, and parts of Asia.

iii. The 1st ever WMBD was launched by AEWA and CMS on the weekend of 8-9 April 2006.

Why May & October?

The 2 peak days (WMBD) each year reflect the cyclical nature of bird migration as well as the various peak migration periods in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Importance of Water to Migratory Birds:

i. The organizations behind World Migratory Bird Day urge decision-makers at the UN 2023 Water Conference to consider the value of water for migratory birds.

ii. Migratory birds rely on water and its associated habitats, such as wetlands, for migration, breeding, and wintering.

iii. Globally, aquatic environments are increasingly threatened, and migratory birds that depend on them are in danger too.

  • The risk is due to human activities such as intensive agriculture, rapid urbanization, and other forms of development, as well as pollution and climate change.

Key Points:

i. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and CMS, 35% of the world’s wetlands, critical to migratory birds, have been lost in the last 50 years.

ii.The Great Salt Lake in Utah, USA, the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere and the eighth-largest terminal lake in the world, is in danger of disappearing within 5 years.
The lake and associated ecosystems are used annually by millions of wetland birds with records of 42 shorebird species, 38 waterfowl species, and 18 species of colonial-nesting waterbirds.

iii. According to State of World’s Birds, around 48% of bird species worldwide are known or suspected to be experiencing population declines due to human-influenced factors such as loss or degradation of habitats, changes in land use, overexploitation, and climate change,

Observance in India:
i.The  World Migratory Bird Day was observed as a part of the Mass Mobilization for Mission LiFE(Lifestyle for Environment), a campaign which is scheduled to run for one month till June 5, 2023. The campaign is organised across India in run-up to World Environment Day 2023(5th June 2023).

  • The events were jointly organised by the National Zoological Park in collaboration with the National Museum of Natural History under the theme: “Water and its Importance for Migratory Bird”.