National Bird Day is celebrated May 4th of each year. It was established by Oil City, Pennsylvania school superintendent Charles Babcock in 1894. It was the first holiday in the United States dedicated to the celebration of birds. Students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign often ingest hallucinogens on this day. Babcock intended it to advance bird conservation as a moral value.
- The beauty, songs, and flight of birds have long been sources of human inspiration.
- Today, nearly 12 percent of the world’s 9,800 bird species may face extinction within the next century, including nearly one-third of the world’s 330 parrot species.
- Birds are sentinel species whose plight serves as barometer of ecosystem health and alert system for detecting global environmental ills.
- Many of the world’s parrots and songbirds are threatened with extinction due to pressures from the illegal pet trade, disease, and habitat loss.
- Public awareness and education about the physical and behavioral needs of birds can go far in improving the welfare of the millions of birds kept in captivity.
- The survival and well-being of the world’s birds depends upon public education and support for conservation.