Andrés Jiménez, Birds Canada
In 2020, Partners in Flight celebrates its 30th Anniversary
and is dedicating its “conservation news” to sharing stories of migratory connectivity and connections to celebrate 30 years of partnerships for bird conservation. We hope you enjoy.
Our plans might be paused, but birds are not. During May, celebrate birds from home with webinars, online courses, giveaways and online resources.
It was a Friday afternoon in early March, and I was working from home – at that time, by choice. I am the coordinator for the Toronto Bird Celebration, and my primary responsibility is to facilitate 40 live events hosted by 20 dedicated partners. Our team had come up with a colourful and lively celebration of nature to take place during May. You can imagine how busy I was, planning events, securing parks, developing communication strategies, writing press releases, and designing social media memes!
Then the kids got home with a letter from the school saying that school and daycare were cancelled for three weeks. My plans came to a drastic halt, and we needed to adapt immediately. I was confident that people would need the Toronto Bird Celebration more than ever. Our plans might be on pause, but the natural world keeps moving. The soil breathes, the trees bud, and birds fly. The grass will be green again. There is no better reminder of this than birds.
Fortunately, birds unite our world. We don’t own them. No country can keep them in their boundaries, and geopolitical borders mean absolutely nothing to them. Our physical isolations are equally irrelevant. If anything, they might be surprised by the silence and the opportunity to sing without interruption. Indeed, this might be the first time when we fully understand migratory birds. I can close my eyes and imagine how so many people would wish to have wings that would take them to a more tranquil land to safely and abundantly raise their offspring. We now understand how a bird might feel through the uncertainty of habitat destruction. We might be able to relate how it feels when a bird struggles to find food for its young because of scarcity. Hopefully, we will understand the sensation of inhabiting a decaying dangerous world, and as such, an understanding that we share the same world and its fate with them with equal stakes and terms.
At this moment is when we need birds the most. Hence, the Toronto Bird Celebration will face the headwinds with hope, determination, and creativity, like a Ruby-throated Hummingbird crossing the Gulf of México in the face of a tropical storm.
We are working hard to bring you the Toronto Bird Celebration, “take-out” edition. Full disclosure: this might require some experimentation and luck. Nonetheless, we are committed to delivering the joy and hope of birds right to your house, apartment, or condo. As I write, we are preparing a series of resources, webinars, online courses, and live virtual events that will enable hundreds to fall in love (or more rooted in love) with birds. One beautiful benefit is that the Greater Toronto Area will open its doors to those looking for hope beyond the GTA.
New for this year, we will bring you the quest for Celebirdies. During May, millions of migrating birds will return to the city, right to your neighbourhood and garden. Celebirdies will dine, stroll and rest in the lushiest corners of the city – we want to know if you spot them. Follow the #TOBirdParty hashtag on Instagram and Twitter or visit our website to find out which celebirdies can be spotted in the city. Let us know about your findings and win #ToBirdParty prizes, including great Firefly Books and exclusive Fjällräven swag.
The collateral benefit of the quarantine situation is that we are more inclusive than ever. You can travel from home with birds, by watching feeder cams in far regions of the world or joining the Toronto Bird Celebration webinars and events! You can also join the quest for celebirdies. Get a chair, a cup of coffee and sit on the green spot closer to home, whether this is the backyard or the park around the corner, and try to find one of the celebirdies.
You will find updated information on the www.torontobirdcelebration.ca event calendar with details on webinars and online events. Plans are changing as we speak so the website will be updated continuously, please check it from time to time. Our goal is to have everything ready for the 9th of May, just in time for migration! Send us some good vibes, we will need them.
Finally, you can also join Birds Canada and learn about birds. With The Roost https://www.birdscanada.org/the-roost/ you can get inspiration and virtually spend time with our staff and bird experts. New content will be uploaded regularly.
Come visit Toronto from the comfort of your place, and join us on this amazing celebration! See you soon! Pura vida!