World Migratory Bird Day Celebrated Globally on 8 May

Bonn, 17 May 2021 - On 8 May 2021, people all over the world celebrated the first peak day of World Migratory Bird Day 2021, a global campaign which aims to raise awareness of migratory birds and the essential need for international cooperation to conserve them. The campaign was prominently featured on the UN Website in all UN languages on the day and received record-breaking social media coverage around the world. 

The international commemorative day is organized twice a year by a collaborative partnership among two UN treaties - the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) - and the non-profit organization, Environment for the Americas (EFTA). The 2021 campaign is also actively being supported by the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) Secretariat and a growing number of other dedicated organisations.

On the first peak day in May, 307 events in over 60 countries were registered on the WMBD website and included lots of creative activities such as webinars, a global virtual choir and other predominantly online events on a wide range of topics relating to bird conservation. One of the webinars entitled “Collaborating to Conserve Migratory Birds in Africa”, organized by the BirdLife Africa Secretariat to mark World Migratory Bird Day was attended by Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary of AEWA and Ms Evelyn Moloko, Coordinator for the AEWA African Initiative.

For the first time, a World Migratory Bird Day Virtual Choir was organized by the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership and the Bowerbird Collective, with participants from over twenty countries singing “like a bird” along a newly created song.

The webinars also included mini-workshops to explore this year’s theme - “Sing, Fly, Soar - Like A Bird!”. The theme focuses on the phenomena of “bird song” and “bird flight” to connect people of all ages around the world and unite in a common effort to protect birds.

Jacques Trouvilliez mentioned this year’s theme as an “invitation to connect and reconnect with nature by actively listening to and observing birds, wherever they are.” The day served as a reminder that migratory birds are in serious decline, and need international action to ensure their survival.

Migratory birds face numerous threats on their journeys across the planet, such as habitat loss and illegal hunting, as well as climate change is adding extra pressure by affecting the habitat they need for breeding, resting and feeding.

“Migratory birds are world travellers. For generations they have connected people, countries and ecosystems. But they also have a front row seat to what we at UNEP call the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.” said Inger Andersen, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme.

A Cape Gannet trapped in a plastic net © | Uwe Schmid

Birds re-connect people to nature and to themselves like no other animal on the planet. They can be seen as global ambassadors of nature and also remind us of nature’s cycles through their seasonal movements. Especially, during the pandemic, many people have been listening to the bird songs as a source of comfort and joy. As Ms. Susan Bonfield, Executive Director of the Environment for the Americas (EFTA), explained: “In this difficult and unusual year, birds have brought us renewed joy in nature and fostered a shared passion for these long-distance travellers.”

The artwork of this year’s celebration showed a small selection of the migratory birds which travel along three of the major flyway systems found in the world: The Americas Flyways, the African-Eurasian Flyway and the East-Asian Australasian Flyway.


Hundreds of special events were scheduled in different countries along these three major bird flyways to mark the day this May. There was an impressive line-up of free online programming on migratory birds related topics as well a record in the social media resonance.

Amy Fraenkel, Executive Secretary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) stated that the “World Migratory Bird Day is an opportunity for people everywhere to celebrate and learn about birds, and to reconnect with nature by actively listening to and watching birds wherever they are.”

Celebrated around the world on two peak days each year - on the second Saturday in May and second Saturday in October - the second peak day is coming up on 9 October 2021! It will be centered around the same theme - “Sing, Fly, Soar - Like A Bird!”. World Migratory Bird Day is the only international awareness-raising and education program that celebrates the migration of bird species along all the major flyways of the world.

To learn more and to register your event please visit:

For more information please contact: Florian Keil, Information Officer at the Joint CMS + AEWA Information Management, Communication and Awareness-raising (IMCA) Unit.


Last updated on 06 July 2021

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