A study published in the journal Science is suggesting that more than 90% migratory birds lack protection when covering massive distances to reach one corner of the globe from another. Scientists are saying that many of these birds remain at high risk when they stop to rest, breed or feed en route. These scientists are asking people to establish new reserves around the globe for protecting migratory species.

The past decade has witnessed the population of the majority of the migratory birds declining from threats like hunting and habitat loss. These birds, according to experts, are endurance fliers, as a result of which they can complete remarkably long journeys across land and oceans.

For instance, Arctic teams are capable of covering a distance equivalent to the distance between the Earth and the Moon and back as many as three times in their lifetime.

A bar-tailed godwit, on the other hand, can fly over 10,000 km or 6,000 miles just in one stint, which makes it the bird possessing the ability to complete the longest continuous journey. So far, no land bird has ever recorded a better performance.

The study’s lead researcher Dr. Claire Runge, an expert representing the University of Queensland, informed that over 50% of all migratory bird species traveling through the main flyways of the world have experienced notable population decline in the past three decades. According to Dr. Runge, this decline has taken place primarily due to ineffective and unequal protection across the migratory range of the affected bird species and places along the routes where they stop for refueling.

Dr. Runge continued by saying that typical migratory birds rely on a range of geographic locations for their annual cycle of rest, breeding and cycle of food. As a result, she feels that even if the majority of these birds’ potential breeding grounds are protected, the solution is not enough for them. Threats emerging from other areas can have a destructive impact on their entire population.

During this new study, researchers from the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States looked at protected areas within global routes of nearly 1,500 migratory bird types. They saw that just 9% of those species remain fully protected across their entire range. Among bird species that don’t migrate, that share is of as much as 45%.

SOURCEScience Magazine