An official website of the United States government

Preserve the Earth 2014: Conservation of Migratory Birds
May 23, 2018

Illustration of migratory birds

Why do birds matter?

As pollinators, predators and prey, migratory birds keep Earth’s ecosystems in balance. As harbingers, they warn of habitat, climate and environmental changes through their movements, their song and their demise. As creatures of beauty, they contribute to nature-based tourism economies.

For centuries, humans have marveled at the ability of birds to fly thousands of kilometers across oceans, mountains and national borders. Twice a year, an estimated 50 billion birds undertake extensive journeys to breed and feed.  Increasingly, migratory birds are threatened by disappearing or degraded habitats along their routes—also known as flyways. Their survival depends on international collaboration to ensure they have the natural resources they need to complete their annual journeys.

PDF – web English (5 MB)
PDF – print English (32 MB)