Saturday, May 8, 2010 marks the 17th anniversary of International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD). Every spring, approximately 350 species of birds migrate between breeding and non-breeding areas from Canada to South America. IMBD focuses attention on the wonders of long-distance migration and the importance of suitable habitat spanning multiple countries for these species.
Several of this year’s IMBD highlight species spend their summer months here in Colorado, our home state, and we look forward to their return each spring.
The peregrine falcon, a master wanderer and the fastest bird on the planet, saw a population crash from 4,000 to just 50 individuals by the mid-70’s in the US. DDT, a chemical used to kill insects that humans consider pests, was the culprit in the peregrine’s decline. A ban on DDT, listing of the peregrine on the endangered species list, and captive breeding programs, have all contributed to a peregrine comeback. More than 3,000 live in the wild today.
Burrowing owls, ground-dwelling grassland inhabitants, have experienced extensive habitat loss across their range. Through partnerships with landowners, farmers, and developers, critical habitat is being preserved for future generations of owls.
This year’s IMBD focus is on “The Power of Partnerships” in conservation efforts. The peregrine falcon and burrowing owl are just two species that have benefited from the power of partnerships in conservation. At Reefs to Rockies, our primary mission is conservation through tourism. We work hard to find on-the-ground conservation programs at all of our destinations so that we can help fund habitat protection and ongoing research.
The return of these long distance migrants each spring is a sign that conservation efforts, at home and abroad, can work.