Mirpuri Foundation President Paulo Mirpuri celebrated World Migratory Bird Day at the Birdwatching and Nature Festival in Sagres, this year themed: ‘Protect Birds: ‘Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution’. 

The Festival, organised by SPEA (Birdlife partner in Portugal), is a delight of bird lovers, ornithologists and conservationists, who gather to observe the autumnal spectacle of birds taking to the wing for warmer climates, with the view over the beautiful village of Sagres, the perfect place to witness the phenomenon, not easily seen elsewhere. 

The four-day festival, celebrating its 10th anniversary, offered over 150 activities including bird ringing, biodiversity, lectures, observational walks with expert ornithologists, boat trips to observe birds and dolphins, horse and donkey rides, photography projects and educational workshops for children. 

Speaking after the Festival, Paulo Mirpuri, President of the Mirpuri Foundation, said: “It was a wonderful day, in the most stunning surroundings, we were lucky to enjoy nature at its finest. This year’s World Migratory Bird Day is dedicated to highlighting the problem of pollution with the theme, ‘Protect Birds: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution.’ Each day you have the opportunity to see nature close up like today, we become even more aware how important the message on sustainability is. These birds now face a challenging future.”

“Foraging behaviour makes seabirds prone to ingesting plastics as floating on the surface of the water, covered in algae, single-use plastics, like bags, drinking straws and bottles are easily mistaken for prey. Birds then perish as plastic items block their stomachs.They suffer terribly, unable to digest anything of nutritional value. Others become entangled and drown in plastic rings or nets. Those that survive face poisoning by microplastics. Unwittingly, birds also feed plastic to their chicks, even more vulnerable due to their underdeveloped organs as sharp particles can cause immediate death. The Mirpuri Foundation recognises the weight of the plastic problem in our environment. We want to study, educate and inspire.” 

“Events like these are important to the Mirpuri Foundation. At the workshops, it was clear that the children were respecting and enjoying nature and were learning more about how the smallest of species can affect a whole ecosystem, that is a wonderful thing to see. It’s in these moments that the Foundation realises its importance. It is in the smiles of children.”  

According to Nuno Barros, SPEA’s Marine Programme Assistant at the Department of Marine Conservation, “Sagres Peninsula is one of the most extraordinary places in Europe for birdwatching. Most of the species are in their post-breeding period between August and November. Thousands of migratory birds gather, some on their way to Africa, others as a result of their dispersal to the South. The beauty of the landscape in the Sagres Peninsula, together with the fascinating natural phenomena and the festive atmosphere, makes this Festival an occasion that no bird lover would want to miss.”