“Light Pollution” is this year’s theme of World Migratory Bird Day, an UN-backed celebrated awareness-raising campaign aiming to inspire the worldwide conservation of both migratory birds and their habitats. With the official slogan “Dim the Lights for Birds at Night!”, this global campaign focus on the impacts of light pollution on migratory birds.
Our Earth continues to become brighter by 2% each year, light pollution has become an increasing problem for nature. A study told us that nowadays, more than 80% of the world's population lives under a “lit sky”. Humans are negatively affected by light pollution, with increasing risks of sleep disorders, diabetes, depression and other health problems.
Light Pollution is also significantly impacting wildlife and ecosystems Every year, light pollution contributes to the death of millions of birds, especially the nocturnal migrant. It also interferes with birds’ internal clocks, vocal communication, foraging behaviors and disrupts migrations. Many studies showed that artificial lights at night (ALAN) attract and disorient birds flying at night, causing them to circle in illuminated areas, depleting their energy reserves and putting them at risk of exhaustion, predation and lethal collision. Seabirds are vulnerable to artificial Light at night, in East Asian-Australasian Flyway, a 15-year study showed light pollution caused the mortality of 39% of Short-tailed Shearwater fledglings on Phillip Island, Australia.
The effects of light pollution on migratory birds unfortunately have not been extensively studied and discussed in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, yet the campaign this year shed light to generate awareness from the public as well as encourage studies and concrete actions from key stakeholders to address it.
Solutions are Readily Available
People started to realize the problem and solutions to address the impacts of light pollution are readily available. For example, the Australian Government (EAAFP Partner) proposed Resolution 13.5 “Light Pollution Guidelines for Wildlife” which was adopted during the 13th Conference of the Parties to CMS in 2020. Numerous governments, cities, companies, and communities around the world are already taking steps to address light pollution. New guidelines focusing on migratory landbirds and bats are currently being developed under CMS. They will be presented to CMS Parties for adoption at the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CMS in 2023.
Natural darkness has conservation value in the same way as clean water, air, and soil, and should be protected.
World Migratory Bird Day 2022 – Animated Promo Video
About World Migratory Bird Day
Launched in 2006, WMBD was established and initiated by the Secretariat of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (UNEP-AEWA) in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), and partnered with Environment for the Americas (EFTA) since 2017. WMBD is now celebrated twice every year, on the 2nd Saturday in May and October. People around the world take action and organize public events such as bird festivals, educational and promotional programmes and birdwatching excursions to celebrate WMBD. Official website: https://www.worldmigratorybirdday.org/
- The Australian Government: National Light Pollution Guidelines for Wildlife Including Marine Turtles, Seabirds and Migratory Shorebirds, and a series of promotional materials, click hereto find out more.
- Global Press release on WMBD: https://www.worldmigratorybirdday.org/news/2022/press-release-world-migratory-bird-day-light-pollution-threatens-birds-across-world
- 2022 WMBD 2022 Campaign Strategy: https://www.cms.int/sites/default/files/publication/wmbd_2022_campaign_strategy_light_pollution.pdf
- WMBD global social media package: https://trello.com/b/GCeoS3bc/world-migratory-bird-day-2022-global-social-media-pack
- EAAFP 2022 WMBD website, posters and resources: https://www.eaaflyway.net/world-migratory-bird-day-2022/
- EAAFP 2022 WMBD Factsheet