"Birds Connect Our World." This was the theme chosen for World Migratory Bird Day, which was observed on May 9.
The theme of connectivity was chosen to highlight the importance of international cooperation to conserve and restore the ecological connectivity and integrity of ecosystems that support the natural movements of migratory birds that are essential for their survival and wellbeing.
Globally our migratory bird species are in decline. Habitat destruction is the major reason, as human development frequently takes precedence over conservation.
They will be taking part in a natural cycle that has been going on for millennia.Nick King on the Latham's Snipe migration
To ensure the survival of the remaining populations of migratory species, it is essential that we understand how their migratory routes connect countries, and how important it is that affected countries acknowledge this connection and are cooperative in their efforts to preserve the biodiversity and sustainability of habitats necessary for the sustenance of birds along their migratory routes.
An example of connectivity can be observed in how Japan and Australia are cooperating to support our local Orange migratory resident, the Latham's Snipe, or commonly named Japanese Snipe (Gallinago Hardwickii).
This beautiful and elusive bird is found in swampy areas that have dense cover, such as our constructed wetlands.
Arriving in September, it spends Spring and Summer in Orange and other sites in Eastern Australia before returning to Hokkaido in Northern Japan and South East Asia at the end of February for the northern Hemisphere summer breeding season.
Both Australia and Japan are working together on a tracking system to determine the migratory behaviour of the snipe, to gain more information about their movements and where they stop for refuelling and rest along the way.
This type of connectivity and cooperation is replicated in programs from many other countries working on the behaviour of many other migratory species.
Such cooperation transcends both physical and political barriers, and is essential to the survival of migratory birds.
In order to get to its breeding grounds in Japan, Latham's Snipe and other migratory birds will fly through many countries and cross many borders. They will be taking part in a natural cycle that has been going on for millennia, regardless of human conflict and divisive behaviour.
Through the work done through international cooperation we can be cautiously optimistic that annual bird migrations continue and that we can welcome our Latham's Snipe back to Orange in September.
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