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2023 World Migratory Bird Day focuses on water

The importance of water is the focus of this year’s World Migratory Bird Day, an annual celebration of migratory birds and a call to action to protect them. Throughout 2023, organizers are spreading the message that “water sustains bird life” and highlighting ways to conserve and protect aquatic habitats.

This year’s WMBD poster, featuring original art by Augusto Silva, highlights 10 species that represent the variety of ways in which birds need water. From the top they are: Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Osprey, Northern Shoveler, Rufous Hummingbird, Northern Waterthrush, American White Pelican, Magellanic Penguin, Wilson’s Phalarope, Barn Swallow, and Dickcissel.

Northern Shoveler and American White Pelican remind us that many species need wetlands and open water for migration, wintering, and breeding. Some birds require specific types of water habitats, such as the salty lakes that Wilson’s Phalarope uses during migration and winter, the swampy woodlands favored by Northern Waterthrush, or the shaded streams along which the Yellow-billed Cuckoo nests. Water is essential for the survival of insects pursued by the Barn Swallow, the growth of nectar-producing plants frequented by the Rufous Hummingbird, and the health of grasslands inhabited by the Dickcissel. The Magellanic Penguin represents the oceans that make up 97% of all water on earth. And finally, the Osprey serves as a conservation success story, reminding us that bird population declines can be reversed when we work together to conserve and protect our planet.

World Migratory Bird Day 2023 is officially celebrated on May 13 in the United States and Canada and October 14 in Latin America and the Caribbean. Celebrations take place all over the world including in local parks, nature centers, museums, libraries, schools, and other locations throughout the year. To find an event near you, to register your own event, or to learn more about this year’s campaign, go to

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