UGA Marine Extension and Sea Grant will be celebrating the annual World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) on Friday, May 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. at the UGA Aquarium located on 30 Ocean Science Circle.
The WMBD event is included with the cost of admission to the UGA Aquarium.
Educators from the UGA Aquarium, along with ornithological organizations and birding experts, will have stations with educational activities set up along the aquarium’s picnic area and Jay Wolf Nature Trail.
Katie Higgins, the marine educator and volunteer coordinator for UGA Marine Extension and Sea Grant, said that organizations like the Ogeechee Audubon, Georgia Audubon, Manomet and Skidaway State Park will have stations at the event.
Visitors will have the opportunity to visit each station and participate in engaging activities, while also learning about birds and their migration patterns.
After visitors go through each station, they will receive a small gift for participating.
An example of a game at the event is the “migration challenge,” which is a game that is modified from the Flying Wild curriculum – a middle school curriculum that is all about birds.
Participants will roll dice and learn about scenarios that migrating birds might encounter.
WMBD is an international campaign coordinated by Environment for The Americas that celebrates the migration of birds across countries and continents.
Each year WMBD has a different conservation theme. This year’s theme is “dim the lights for birds at night,” which focuses on the impact light pollution has on migrating birds.
Many species of birds such as ducks, geese, plovers and sandpipers and a variety of songbirds migrate at night due to calmer air space and the absence of predators.
However, artificial light produced from cities can pose a distraction and danger to nocturnally migrating birds.
“It [artificial light] can be both a distraction and sort of a danger for those birds. You can get situations where high rise buildings for example, if they have lights on them, can actually attract birds like a moth to a flame, said Higgins. “They can end up having collisions with windows that are lit up at night, or in some cases, they just circle an area that is illuminated and therefore lose a lot of energy rather than continuing their flight.”
According to Higgins, having campaigns that encourage people to turn off their lights after a certain time, or the installation of lights that reflect downward are ways to reduce the impact artificial light has on migrating birds.
For more information on World Migratory Bird Day, visit migratorybirdday.org or gacoast.uga.edu