Press Releases May 2009 - Millions of birds killed worldwide by man-made barriers each year - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
United Nations Environment Programme
environment for development Search 
News Centre
 Home News Centre
 Media Contacts
 Press Releases
 In Focus
 RSS / Podcasts

 Printable Version [Français][中文]

Millions of birds killed worldwide by man-made barriers each year

Millions of birds killed worldwide by man-made barriers each year

Bonn/Nairobi, 8 May 2009 - This upcoming weekend (9-10 May 2009), thousands of people around the world will be taking part in World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) events to draw attention to the many man-made obstacles birds face during their migration.

The central theme for this year's World Migratory Bird Day - "BARRIERS TO MIGRATION" - aims to highlight the effects man-made structures such as wind turbines, communication masts, tall buildings and windows, power lines and fences have on migratory birds.

During migration birds face a number of natural obstacles such as expanding deserts, seas, huge mountains and other natural barriers. Yet, next to these natural barriers, birds are increasingly being confronted with man-made barriers on their journeys.

These man-made structures can not only disturb the migratory movements of birds, but it is estimated that bird-strike due to collisions with man-made structures is responsible for the deaths of many millions of birds worldwide each year.

Among the affected bird species are abundant as well as rare and endangered species. Man-made barriers are believed to be a growing threat and are likely to be a significant contributor to the decline in many populations, especially those of scarcer, more vulnerable bird species.

"Hundreds and thousands of migratory birds, including many that are protected under international wildlife treaties such as the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), are killed in growing numbers by man-made barriers. Some of these cases could quite easily be avoided by introducing technical measures for reducing this often avoidable cause of destruction" said Bert Lenten, Executive Secretary of AEWA and initiator of the World Migratory Bird Day campaign.

However, each year the number of wind turbines, power lines, skyscraping radio, TV and cell phone transmission masts, reflecting plate glass windows, tall buildings and other structures continues to grow, often without consideration of avoidance and mitigation measures known to reduce avian mortality through collisions with these structures.

Full Release




Further Resources

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD)

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA)

BirdLife International

Wetlands International


Follow Us

Keep up to date with UNEP events on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube.

Twitter Facebook You Tube

UNEP on Facebook