As the leaves change color and temperatures begin to drop in North America, birds begin to fly south for the winter. October 10th then is the perfect time to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day. Created in 1933 by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Campaign, the day strives to connect people to bird conservation and bring attention to bird migration. 

Every year, a conservation theme is selected to highlight the one topic that is important to bird conservation, and the theme for 2020 is Birds Connect Our World. It focuses on the tracking technologies used to explore the routes of migratory birds across the world, such as bird banding, satellite tracking, feather analysis, and weather radar. Using the MOTUS tracking system, 12 migratory bird species were tracked, highlighting the challenges these birds face as they make their journey, as well as those that are working to protect them.

One example of the power of tracking technologies is Hope, a female Whimbrel that researchers tracked starting in 2009.  She migrated between northwestern Canada and the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, before disappearing after 8 years in 2017 when Hurricane Maria struck.

What are some of the simple steps that you can take to help the cause from your home? 

  • Make your windows visible to birds.
  • Keep cats indoors.
  • Reduce your plastic use.
  • Plant native plants for food and shelter.

Visit to learn more about this year’s theme and participate in virtual events.