The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has created a digital map to mark World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) which falls on Saturday, May 13. This annual awareness-raising campaign highlights the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. The maps created by the ESRI highlight the flight paths of a number of migratory birds returning to Ireland. The institute has also launched a survey asking for public participation to help it provide the most accurate information about the locations of the returning birds. People can share a photo to be added to the map.
According to the ESRI, around 450 different bird species have been recorded in Ireland. Although a lot of them are migratory and rare, now is the best chance to catch a glimpse of them as they return north to build nests and prepare for the breeding season. The institute has identified some of the species that are returning to Ireland this season. These include the Manx Shearwater, Swift, and Arctic Tern.
The Manx Shearwater returns to Ireland between March and August. They spend winter off the coast of South America and then make the 10,000km journey north for the summer. A large colony can be found in Co. Kerry. The Swift begins migrating from tropical Africa in April. According to the ESRI, this is a “protected and threatened species” in Ireland that spends its time in small crevices of buildings. The Arctic Tern is a sea bird that began returning to Ireland’s coasts in March. They have the longest journey to take, coming from the Antarctic circle, travelling 19,000km one way. They can be found on the coast of counties Wexford, Kerry, Mayo, and Donegal, which has the largest number of these birds.
WMBD began in 2006 and carries a different theme each year to emphasise conservation needs for birds. This year’s theme is ‘water’. Today will focus on protecting inland and coastal wetlands; rivers; lakes; streams; marshes; and ponds for feeding, drinking or nesting, and also as places to rest and refuel during long journeys.
The ESRI’s digital map is an innovative way to raise awareness about the importance of conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. It is a great opportunity for bird lovers to participate in the campaign by sharing photos of birds and contributing to the accuracy of the map. The map will also help researchers to study the migration patterns of birds and their habitats.
The conservation of migratory birds is crucial as they play a vital role in maintaining the balance of ecosystems. Migratory birds help in pollination, seed dispersal, and controlling pests. However, the habitats of migratory birds are under threat due to human activities such as deforestation, urbanisation, and climate change. Therefore, it is essential to conserve their habitats to ensure their survival.
In conclusion, the ESRI’s digital map is an excellent initiative to raise awareness about the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. It provides an opportunity for the public to participate in the campaign and contribute to the accuracy of the map. The conservation of migratory birds is crucial for maintaining the balance of ecosystems, and it is essential to protect their habitats to ensure their survival.