Skip to main content

World Migratory Bird Day: Celebrating Nature’s Great Journeys

Baltimore Oriole.

Baltimore Oriole. Photo credit Maura Carlisle.

Save the date for May 11. That’s when World Migratory Bird Day “takes flight”. Created in 1993, and expanded globally in 2006, this international initiative comes under the auspices of the Environment for the Americas, among other groups, and raises much-needed global awareness about the many challenges faced by our beautiful migratory birds as they make their remarkable journeys across the continents.

Playing a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance, migratory birds help both natural ecosystems and human agriculture. Pollination, seed dispersal and pest control are just some of the reasons people from around the world have a shared responsibility for conservation and good stewardship of available resources.

“The theme for 2024 is a focus on insects. Many species of birds rely on insects as a food source, both during migration and nesting,” says Bob Bryerton, program coordinator at the Forest Preserve District of Will County’s Plum Creek Nature Center, in Crete Township. “For example, the ruby-throated hummingbird; people put out nectar feeders in the hopes of spotting these birds. While the birds need and will eat nectar, insects make up a major part of their diet.”

Diminishing insect populations endanger bird survival and well-being. Vulnerable natural spaces have fallen victim to intensive agriculture and urban development. Everything from pesticides and herbicides to light pollution can cause a decline in insect populations.

“We have a wide variety of bird species that pass through our area. Going out for a short walk in a preserve, you may be able to spot 50 or more species in a huge range of colors and patterns,” adds Bryerton. “We are hosting a variety of hikes to help people get out and get to know the birds that rely on our area as a home or rest stop.”

For more information about events in Will County, visit For more information about World Migratory Bird Day, visit and

Nancy Smith Seigle is a writer, content creator, storyteller and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines. Connect at [email protected].


Where to Join a World Migratory Bird Day Event

Here are some of the local World Migratory Bird Day celebrations:

Saturday, May 4

Lake Renwick Migratory Bird Viewing –
8 a.m.-noon. Plainfield.

Monday, May 6

Park 566 Bird Walk – 7-10 a.m. Chicago.

Saturday, May 11

Morning Bird Hike 7-9 a.m. Beecher.

Morning Bird Walk – 8-10 a.m. Barrington.

World Migratory Bird Day Outing at Washington Park 8-10 a.m. Chicago.

Early Morning Bird Walk 8:30 a.m. Willow Springs.

Mother’s Day Eve Wildflower Walk & Why Mama Birds Like Insects Activity Stations – 9-11 a.m. Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge, Genoa City, WI.

Bird Watching and Banding Demonstration
9 a.m.-2 p.m. Lemont.

Big Sit Day 10 a.m.-noon. Barrington.

Birding Basics 10 a.m.-noon. Northbrook.

Raptor Encounter 1:30-2:30 p.m. Northbrook.

Evening Bird Hike 6-8 p.m. Monee.

Evening Bird Walk – 6:30-8:30 p.m. Sycamore.