Bird City communities never fail to go above and beyond in their conservation and education actions, and we especially appreciate these efforts this year, when health concerns and Safer-at-Home restrictions have upended so many plans for celebrating World Migratory Bird Day.
The responses to the quarantine so far have been inspiring:
Some communities have moved their celebrations later in the year; others are holding virtual events; still more are downsizing and shifting from community gatherings to backyard or family events. The Oshkosh Bird Fest, a first-weekend-in-May celebration that has included a Big Sit-style event, offers an excellent example. This year, it downsized and spread out -- and the participants still had fun.
Our partners at Environment for the Americas, the home of World Migratory Bird Day, have come up with many creative ways you can practice social distancing while celebrating.
1. Delay your event. It’s true, the traditional date to mark World Migratory Bird Day at this latitude is the second Saturday in May, but events are held almost every month of the year. Birds don’t all travel on the same day, so why not hold your event later in the year?
2. Highlight your activity over time. If you had planned activities for a single day, spread them out over days and weeks instead and engage individuals or small groups, rather than crowds of people.
3. Host a virtual festival. The sky’s the limit here: You could share information about backyard birdwatching or create a book club and hold online reading sessions for children with stories where the main characters are birds. Perhaps you could create a video for social media highlighting the importance of protecting migratory birds or also host online craft lessons (such as origami or painting) that teach about birds. Another good idea might be reaching out to a local bird expert and hosting a virtual conference.
Need more ideas? Turn to the Bird Day LIVE page on Environment for the Americas website.
Please let us know what you decide and be sure to share the dates and times of any virtual festivals; we’ll help publicize them! And please understand: No Bird City community will be penalized for failing to hold a World Migratory Bird Day event in 2020.
As we wrote in our last newsletter, you should follow local regulations and the guidance of the CDC and other health officials regarding group events, even if doing so means cancelling your spring celebration. Your priority, and ours, must be maintaining the health of your staff, volunteers, and attendees -- but we sure hope you’ll think twice before cancelling your World Migratory Bird Day plans outright, because you may not need to.
Learn about World Migratory Bird Day.
Download this year's WMBD poster and other resources.
Read about "Safer at Home" (Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services).