According to National Today, Jan 5, 2023 is National Bird Day. But according to Wikipedia, “Bird Day was established in 1894….. It was the first holiday in the United States dedicated to the celebration of birds. Babcock intended it to advance bird conservation as a moral value.” Wikipedia continues with “International Migratory Bird Day, a conservation initiative that brings awareness on conserving migratory birds and their habitats throughout the Western Hemisphere. This program is dedicated to international conservation efforts and environmental education in Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Originated by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, it is now coordinated by Environment for the Americas.”
According to the National Day Calendar, Jan 5 is also National Keto Day, National Screenwriters Day, and National Whipped Cream Day. (Note that the day before Jan 5 was Jan 4 which celebrates National Dimpled Chad Day, among others, and the day after, Jan 6, is National Bean Day, among others.) Then, still in the month of January are national days for Argyle, Bubble Bath, Bobbleheads, and Static Electricity. Pass Gas Day, January 7, encourages people to celebrate flatulence.
On to February, National Bird-feeding Month, created in 1994 to educate people about bird feeding and the hobby of bird watching. During this month, “individuals are encouraged to provide food, water, and shelter to help wild birds survive. This assistance benefits the environment by supplementing the wild bird’s natural diet of weed seeds and insects. Currently, one-third of the U.S. adult population feeds wild birds in their backyards.”
There are lots of ways to celebrate birds. Being the most ubiquitous and colorful of all organisms, you would expect lots of references to birds. We have written songs about birds, poems, and books, not counting field guides. And lots of stories about the raven, mockingbird, crow, lark and nightingale. We have stamps, coins, greeting cards, cars, sports teams, liquor, and cereals that celebrate birds. And every state has a state bird, (although I wonder about Delaware’s “Blue Hen”, Gallus gallus, which is actually a wild Red Junglefowl from Asia or a domestic chicken.)
What’s important here is that we should commemorate birds in as many ways as possible, starting early in school, using references such as Flying Wild.
The more people are educated about birds, or at least made aware of their existence, the more they will be cherished and protected.
Are there people who aren’t aware? Well, probably not, but sometimes I wonder. When I wrote the blog Are Birds Real?, a story about a tongue-in cheek hoax that implied birds were drones from the CIA, I received a serious comment that ornithologists ought to “dissect birds to see if they are really alive or just drones.” I have yet to find a drone with feathers.
Most people who are not attuned to the feathered creatures in our environment are probably like Andy Rooney, former 60 minutes commentator, who bought a bird guide and said it was “full of sparrows.”