With the goal of conserving native avifauna through diverse habitat preservation and restoration, the American Bird Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization committed to protecting birds in the Americas. Though based in the United States, this organization's goals extend far across international borders, as do the birds it seeks to protect.
Founded in 1994, the American Bird Conservancy is still a relatively young organization but it has a strong presence for fostering the importance of bird conservation. The organization takes an active stance in conservation efforts, focusing on the economic, environmental and even moral implications of bird conservation. From its inception, the ABC has grown strongly, and today its partnerships and initiatives reach across the world.
What the ABC Does Today
The American Bird Conservancy works to find innovative and equitable solutions to bird conservation issues, balancing the needs of birds with the needs of society to benefit both. Its strong pyramid framework for conservation efforts works in a grassroots fashion to build a broad conservation base without neglecting very specific projects and the critical needs of endangered birds. The types of work the ABC is involved in include:
- Research: Both field and laboratory projects are of critical importance for effective bird conservation, and the American Bird Conservancy is involved in both. Field research and experimentation, data collection and result analysis are all part of the research that can lead to the best possible bird conservation initiatives.
- Policy Influence: Consulting and campaigning for local and national laws and policies with the best interests of bird conservation in mind keeps the American Bird Conservancy involved in minimizing and eliminating threats to birds, including working with legislation and practices related to climate change, pesticide regulation, feral cats, fishing bycatch, invasive species and tower and window collisions.
- Habitat Conservation: The American Bird Conservancy has a keen interest in the preservation of neotropical migrants, and habitat conservation to provide migratory stopover habitats and both wintering and breeding grounds is critical. The ABC is involved in projects to foster responsible, environmentally-friendly land management as well as reforestation and other habitat preservation techniques.
- Safeguarding Species: Every bird species is special and can offer unique insights into our natural world, and the ABC promotes protective measures to restore and conserve endangered and threatened species. Seabirds are of special concern to the organization because they are at the greatest risk, but all bird species can benefit from the reserves the American Bird Conservancy establishes as well as the organization's promotion and support of the Endangered Species Act and similar legislation.
- Partnerships: By establishing partnerships with different public and private corporations, organizations and groups, the American Bird Conservancy strives to create a unifying spirit in the world of bird conservation. In the long term, strong partnerships will provide greater support for necessary projects to help preserve birds and promote their welfare. Today, the American Bird Conservancy is proud to have partnerships with Partners in Flight and other groups, and the ABC has also formed more specialized groups to focus on hot topic conservation issues, such as the National Pesticide Reform Coalition.
Joining the American Bird Conservancy
The American Bird Conservancy is based in the United States but works toward bird conservation throughout the Western Hemisphere. Members can be found worldwide, and while there is no minimum membership fee for members in the United States, membership benefits start with annual dues of $40 ($55 minimum outside the United States). Annual donations of $1,000 or higher bring members into the elite Falcon Club, with different denominations promoting members up to different raptor species, topping off at the $50,000 Gyrfalcon annual membership.
Members who donate above the minimum levels are welcomed with a range of benefits, including:
- Choice of welcome gift, such as a canvas bag or mousepad (selection and availability vary)
- A subscription to Bird Conservation magazine, published three times per year
- Email news subscription to BirdWire for updated stories and timely information
- Exclusive birding field trip invitations (offered to members who join with a $100 donation or higher)
Memberships can be paid annually or arranged through monthly payments, and most major credit cards are accepted. Gift memberships, anonymous donations and estate planning donations can also be arranged. All membership donations may be tax deductible depending on members' individual local laws (the American Bird Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization), and full, independent audits are completed annually with the financial statements made public for full disclosure of how the organization uses its funds.
For more information and to join the American Bird Conservancy, visit www.ABCBirds.org.
Photo – Violet-Headed Hummingbird © Michael Woodruff