Celebrating National Bird Day: New Birds of 2023

Celebrating National Bird Day: New Birds of 2023.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Celebrating National Bird Day: New Birds of 2023. Image: Unsplash

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Celebrating National Bird Day: New Birds of 2023

January 5 is National Bird Day– a day to celebrate the beauty and diversity of birds and raise awareness about the dangers that threaten many species with extinction. Birds play an important role in our ecosystems and contribute to various aspects of the environment. They participate in food webs, help to maintain ecological balance, are important pollinators, control insect populations, and can serve as indicators of environmental health.

Although we have seen many birds go extinct (I’m sure you’re all familiar with the dodo bird that went extinct due to habitat destruction and overhunting in the 17th century), in 2023, we saw several new bird discoveries and a few rediscovered birds we thought were extinct.

Here are some of these moments we saw last year that we can celebrate on National Bird Day 2024:

The South American Emerald-winged Parrot discovery

The South American Emerald-winged Parrot was discovered in a remote area of the rainforests in the Andes. The name was chosen due to its vibrant green feathers and distinctive emerald-coloured wings. The bird has a distinct call and unique behaviour, which sets it apart from its parrot relatives.

The Regent Whistler and the Rufous-Naped Bellbird discoveries

For the first time in two decades, researchers have found not one but two new species of poisonous birds in the jungles of New Guinea. The two birds, the regent whistler and the rufous-naped bellbird can consume toxic food and convert it into a potent poison. This same toxin has also been seen in the poison dart frogs of South and Central America, which use the toxins to deter predators. The significance of the toxin for the birds is still unknown.

The return of the Takahē to the wild

A prehistoric bird called the takahē has been returned to the wild in an alpine area of New Zealand’s South Island. The large, turquoise, flightless bird was considered extinct for decades. According to fossil remains, their presence in this area dates back to at least the prehistoric Pleistocene era. The return to the wild is part of a conservation project to establish more wild bird populations in New Zealand. The takahē also holds cultural significance for Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, as it is part of the country’s natural heritage and is featured in many of their mythology and traditions.

The rediscovery of the Dusky Tetraka

The Dusky Tetraka, which was last seen in 1999, has been rediscovered in the tropical forests of northeastern Madagascar. The small olive and yellow-throated bird was found hopping around in dense undergrowth near the river, potentially looking for insects or other prey. The Search for Lost Birds listed the Dustry Tetraka as one of the ten most-wanted lost birds, a collaboration between Re: wild, the American Bird Conservancy, and BirdLife International.

These new discoveries and rediscoveries emphasize the importance of protecting our environment, and they are a reminder of the importance of conservation efforts and the need to protect and preserve our natural world. And what better way to do that than on National Bird Day?

There are many ways you can celebrate:

  • Get a bird identification book – see how many birds you can spot in your backyard or local park
  • Turn your backyard into a bird sanctuary
  • Make a bird bath, build a nestbox or purchase bird-friendly plants for your garden.
  • Donate money to a bird sanctuary, refuge, or research.  

Remember that National Bird Day is an opportunity to connect with nature and appreciate what birds can do for our environment. Whatever you choose to do today will contribute to a greater awareness of the importance of birds and encourage further conservation and protection.

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