The Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS) as part of its 2022 World Migratory Bird Day has engaged some stakeholders including students with a bird-watching exercise in Accra.
The outdoor bird and nature walk activity with the public and school children from DPS international school, respectively, took place at the Panbros Salt Industries and the Shai Hills Resource Reserve.
The purpose was to emphasise the need for bird conservation and as well as lecture participants on the impact of light pollution on migratory birds.
Marked under the theme “Light Pollution; the 2022 World Migratory Bird Day”, it was celebrated with an open invitation to all persons across the world to dim their lights for birds at night. This observation comes at the backdrop of the discovery that artificial light is globally increasing by at least 2 percent per year, which adversely affects many bird species.
Light pollution has also had a significant threat to migratory birds, causing disorientation when they fly at night, leading to collisions with buildings, and interfering with their ability to undertake long-distance migrations.
According to the Bonn Convention (1979) on Migratory Species, solutions to light pollution are readily available, such that more cities in the world are taking measures to dim building lights during migration phases.
However, to further address the growing light issues and to ensure that decisive action is taken globally, best practice guidelines are also being developed under the Convention to help birds migrate safely.
It is on this effort that the Ghana Wildlife Society on Saturday, May 14, 2022, put together at least 60 nature lovers to observe the 2022 World Migratory Bird Day. The day was also observed as a means to strengthen GWS awareness and campaign activities. The team includes the public, wildlife club members, two teachers and 5 volunteers.
The Assistant Conservation Education Officer, Georgina Antwi, who joined other virtual events organised by the Birdlife International partnership, disclosed that there will be an online essay competition that will be launched on GWS social media channels. The competition, she contends, will seek to “educate and get our audience to take actions for migratory birds.
“We shall also publish newspaper reports and online media articles to raise awareness on migratory birds among the general public”.
Georgina Antwi also hopes that through collaborative efforts and getting children to learn more about the ecological importance of migratory birds, more children and adults can begin to show much concern for birds, and take actions to conserve them and the environment.
In order to give Ghanaians, the experience to walk to different sites to see a variety of bird species, the GWS has been organising a schedule on the first Saturday of every month where amateur and other bird enthusiasts travel by foot for a bird tour. A guide takes the birders through basic bird identification techniques such as visual IDs, and habitat and behaviour clues, among others.
Birds are remarkable species. They can travel hundreds to thousands of kilometres to find conducive environments to feed, nest their young and breed. Birds migrate to flee extreme weather conditions and explore reliable food sources. In Africa, some migrate within the region and some, beyond the region. As they move from one place to another, they face various threats such as light pollution, habitat destruction, collisions, pollution, climate change and poaching, which have led to population declines in recent years.
To this effect, the Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) initiated the World Migratory Bird Day in 2006.