Kenya should come up with strong measures to boost the protection of migratory birds in the face of growing threats from climate stresses and urbanization, scientists say ahead of World Migratory Bird Day, which is celebrated on May 14 and aims to raise awareness to their critical ecological value.
United States: thousands of migratory birds die in the southwestern states
Titus Imboma, a researcher with the Department of Ornithology at the National Museums of Kenya (NMK), said conserving migratory birds will help stabilize ecosystems in addition to boosting the growth of ecotourism.
“As a country, we have an obligation to protect migratory birds which have become niche tourism products, generating income for local communities. These birds are also essential for maintaining the balance of ecosystems,” said Imboma.
Kenya is a strategic passageway for migrating birds, fleeing winter in Europe and Asia and destined for a warmer climate in the tropics. They arrive in the country from the end of September, land in different ecological zones ranging from savanna grasslands, coastal strip, Rift Valley and mountainous landscapes before returning to their native country at the end of April.
About 117 species of migratory birds that land in Kenya range in important bird areas like national parks, wetlands, coastal mangroves where they feed on microorganisms and insects but do not breed. Nairobi is also an important feeding station for migratory birds adding that they are also attracted to its green spaces.
Kenya is a signatory to international legal instruments such as the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) which aim to enhance the protection of bird species. iconic migrants. Major threats facing migratory birds include habitat destruction and fragmentation, light pollution, sport hunting, erratic weather conditions, and entrapment by power lines.
Imboma said it was crucial to reconfigure infrastructure development and urbanization, to ensure that corridors for migratory birds are not encroached on while raising awareness of their economic and ecological value at the grassroots. He called for expanding green spaces in cities, adopting environmentally friendly agricultural practices like agroforestry to protect migratory birds from the threat of pollution and climate shocks.
Nature Kenya birding officer, Richard Kipngeno, recalled that some of the iconic migratory birds found in the African country include willow warbler, blackcap, Eurasian roller, steppe eagle, bee-eater Eurasian and the common sandpiper. He added that Kenya also hosts migratory birds from the African continent.