The Foundation supports organizations whose mission includes the preservation of wild birds and their habitats, especially those working to develop the strong science necessary to make the case for conservation measures that would reverse the decline of bird populations.
With funding from the Foundation, the American Bird Conservancy has embarked on a broad-based program to reduce the number of migratory birds killed in collisions with glass-walled buildings, windows and communications towers. Remedies include “lights out” campaigns to reduce building lighting at night, siting guidelines for towers and advocacy of bird-safe glass. Since many collisions occur at private homes, ABC has published a flyer with advice for preventing them for homeowners (available here).
An additional grant is financing a campaign to ensure that the development of wind energy is “bird smart.” By 2030, if wind energy farms proceed as projected, a million or more birds per year are likely to die because of them. Learn more here and here.
The Foundation has also underwritten the preparation and publication of The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation, available since fall, 2010. Critically acclaimed, the book summarizes the complex issues in modern bird conservation for a popular audience; it covers at-risk species, vulnerable habitats, and key threats, and outlines ways in which individuals can help. Purchase it here.
The Foundation is supporting research that will explore the riches of the Avian Knowledge Network, a massive database of bird observations contributed by birders, citizen scientists, and ornithologists over many decades — and now, from all over the world. The AKN helps scientists understand the complex relationship between birds and thousands of features in the environment that affect them, such as trees, water, predators, and food, and allows better forecasting of bird populations and movements with the goal of informing policy-making. These tools were used in the 2011 State of the Birds Report published by a conservation committee and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and in the forthcoming 2013 State of the Birds Report.
The Foundation is also underwriting the Lab’s development of specific tools needed for damage-assessment models of migratory birds at risk from wind-energy development, using its pioneering acoustics analysis methods to assess siting hazards. And the Foundation is supporting researchers who are studying the combined effects of multiple threats — especially habitat fragmentation and pollution — on forest birds in the Northeastern United States.
The New York City Audubon was able, with a three-year grant from the Foundation, to hire a Director of Conservation, whose main goal will be to conduct scientific studies, including an assessment of bird collisions in urban settings. The results are expected to provide the proof required by city government and real estate developers to undertake efforts to curb collisions, such as the retrofitting of existing buildings with collision-prevention materials.