Impact of growing water crisis on migratory birds

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Migratory birds are fascinating travelers that travel hundreds or even thousands of kilometers each year, migrating between breeding and wintering grounds. Among them are the Arctic terns, which are able to beat 60,000-80,000 annually. km or rust trails migrating from Alaska to New Zealand, flying in autumn, without stopping, 11,000. km over the Pacific.

In the course of their migrations, the birds are exposed to many difficulties, including changes in weather or landscape and lack of food. But one of the biggest challenges migratory birds face is the lack of access to water, which is crucial to the survival of these amazing creatures.

World Migratory Bird Day

Every year, World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated on the second weekend of May. Since 2006. This special holiday aims to highlight the importance of migratory birds, the need to protect them and promote awareness of the importance of their migration and their needs, as well as emphasizing the need for international cooperation in this area.

World Migratory Bird Day is organized in cooperation with: Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) and Environment for the Americas (EFTA). It is the only international educational program that highlights and celebrates the migrations of nearly 350 species of migratory birds between breeding habitats.

This year, on May 13, we took advantage of this unique opportunity to focus on the topic of water and its importance to migratory birds and the growing threats to both its quality and quantity. The campaign was held around the world under the slogan: “Water: Sustaining Bird Life.”

Why is water so important for migratory birds?

Water is an essential element for migratory birds to sustain life. As with humans, water is key to keeping the body hydrated enough to survive. In addition, migratory birds use water to maintain proper temperature and humidity levels in their nests.

For migratory birds, water is also a source of food. They often land at various bodies of water, such as lakes, ponds, rivers and marshes, to drink, rest and find food. They use water in a variety of ways, depending on their needs, environmental conditions, and species. Some migratory birds, such as pelicans and ducks, swim and dive in search of food. Others, such as falcons, eagles and hawks, hunt their prey from above. Other species of migratory birds, such as storks, flamingos and herons, feed on fish and other aquatic organisms, which they catch near the shores of lakes, rivers and other bodies of water.

Migratory birds threatened by lack of access to water

Migratory birds have always relied on water for their migration and wintering. Unfortunately, increasing human demand for resources, as well as climate change and pollution, are threatening these valuable ecosystems. The dramatic loss over the past 50 years of 35% of the world’s wetlands, which are critical for migratory birds, is causing alarm around the world.

The Great Salt Lake, a majestic body of water in Utah, is experiencing irreversible changes. All indications are that the largest salt lake in the Western Hemisphere may disappear completely within the next five years. It is used by more than one million shorebirds.

The Aral Sea, which was once the fourth largest lake in the world, is now a symbol of environmental disasters, the largest in history. This common heritage of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan has been drastically reduced.

Another poignant example is Lake Chad. Once one of the largest bodies of water in Africa, it is now an appalling example of ecosystem loss. In 1960. has lost as much as 90% of its original area, with disastrous consequences for local communities, but also for migratory birds.

These examples of ecosystem loss are a great reminder that our planet’s biodiversity is in danger. Recent reports of declining bird populations around the world are equally alarming. As many as 48% of species are facing severe declines in numbers.

Consequences of lack of access to water for migratory birds

Lack of access to water can have serious consequences for migratory birds. It can lead to dehydration and, in extreme cases, even death. In addition, if migratory birds do not have constant access to water, they may have difficulty obtaining food and have to travel longer distances. This, in turn, leads to greater exertion and risk of exhaustion. Weakening affects their ability to hunt, forage and defend themselves against predators, which in turn increases the risk of death. Migratory birds rely on a regular migratory cycle to reach their breeding and wintering habitats. Lack of access to water can disrupt this process and make it difficult for them to reach their destination.

In order for migratory birds to survive, it is necessary to take measures to restore access to water. This includes protecting wetlands, lakes, rivers and coasts from pollution, as well as sustainable management of water resources, introducing appropriate environmental policies, educating the public about the importance of water for migratory birds, and supporting projects to revitalize and restore aquatic ecosystems.

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