Video message by Rüdiger Strempel, HELCOM Executive Secretary, on the occasion of World Migratory Bird Day
Migratory birds are true connectors, reminding us of how ecosystems are intricately intertwined even when worlds apart.
In the Baltic Sea, migratory water birds are a key component of the food web. They are also indicators of the health of the marine environment.
Of the roughly 100 migratory water bird species that call the Baltic their home – and be it for a brief stop-over only – about a quarter are on our Red List of endangered species.
Indeed, waterbirds are extremely sensitive to changes in their environment.
We know for instance that some birds do not return to their original wintering habitats if wind energy facilities have been installed there.
Accidental bycatch in fishing nets of birds diving for food is also a cause for concern.
When planning what we do at sea, we therefore need to carefully consider migratory birds too, taking into account their habitats and migration corridors.
Applying ecosystem-based management will help to strike a balance between our activities and the needs of waterbirds for resting, breeding or wintering.
We do benefit from the sea and its resources, but we also have a responsibility to maintain it in a healthy state.
On this World Migratory Bird Day, let’s remember that “Birds Connect Our World”. Wherever we are, migratory birds remind us that we are part of a greater whole.
In protecting their environment, we’re also protecting our own.
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