Make a Transformational Difference for Birds


In response to the bird crisis revealed by a landmark paper in Science by American Bird Conservancy staff and partners, we've committed to ABC's 50-50-5 Action Plan. It is ambitious and bold, but it is also possible — and deeply necessary to stem bird population declines and address the ecological crisis that these declines signal.

Give now to help us turn our plan into action.

Save 50 Flagship Bird Species

These 50 species are important in their own right, plus they represent major ecosystems across the Western Hemisphere as well as other species of birds, plants, and animals that share their habitat and suffer from many of the same threats. By focusing on 50 carefully selected flagship birds, we know we can make an enormous contribution to addressing our planet's loss of biodiversity and climate crisis. These are certainly not the only species that ABC will work to save, but they are emblematic of our work across a wide variety of important places.

CLICK: See all 50 Bird Species

  • Alagoas Antwren
  • Andean Condor
  • Bicknell's Thrush
  • Black Rail
  • Black Skimmer
  • Black-capped Petrel
  • Black-capped Vireo
  • Blue-eyed Ground-Dove
  • Blue-throated Hillstar
  • Blue-throated Macaw
  • Bobolink
  • Buff-breasted Sandpiper
  • Cerulean Warbler
  • Common Nighthawk
  • Flammulated Owl
  • Golden-winged Warbler
  • Gray-bellied Comet
  • Greater Sage-Grouse
  • Harpy Eagle
  • Hermit Warbler
  • Horned Lark
  • Iiwi
  • Ivory Gull
  • Kaempfer's Woodpecker
  • King Rail
  • Kirtland's Warbler
  • Laysan Albatross
  • Lear's Macaw
  • Long-billed Curlew
  • Mangrove Finch
  • Marbled Murrelet
  • Marvelous Spatuletail
  • Thick-billed Longspur
  • Northern Bobwhite
  • Northern Rockhopper Penguin
  • Peruvian Plantcutter
  • Red Knot
  • Red-fronted Macaw
  • Royal Cinclodes
  • Rufous Hummingbird
  • Short-crested Coquette
  • Snowy Plover
  • Swallow-tailed Kite
  • Tree Swallow
  • Waved Albatross
  • White-headed Woodpecker
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • White-winged Nightjar
  • Willow Flycatcher (Southwestern)
  • Wood Thrush

Our list of flagship species includes iconic birds of western North America such as Greater Sage-Grouse and White-headed Woodpecker, enigmatic seabirds such as Black-capped Petrel and Marbled Murrelet, long-distance migrants such as Golden-winged Warbler and Red Knot, aerial insectivores such as Tree Swallow, nocturnal birds such as Flammulated Owl, and some of the rarest birds in South America, including Blue-throated Hillstar, Peruvian Plantcutter, and Blue-eyed Ground-Dove.

Blue-throated Hillstar. Photo by James Muchmore.
Blue-throated Hillstar. Photo by James Muchmore.

Protect and Conserve 50 Million Acres

ABC has already identified areas across the Western Hemisphere that we call BirdScapes. Our BirdScapes cover more than 20 ecosystem types from Amazonian rainforest and Andean cloud forest to grasslands and freshwater wetlands.

Conserving and protecting these places will make a transformational difference for birds, help millions of additional species of animals and plants, and capture and store carbon and protect watersheds. To further increase the number of acres, ABC will encourage partners to match our commitment.

CLICK: See all 20 Ecosystem Types

  • Amazonian forests
  • Andean cloud forests
  • Atlantic forests
  • Boreal and mountain forests
  • Coastal habitats
  • Dry forests and deserts
  • Eastern broadleaf forests
  • Freshwater wetlands
  • Grasslands
  • Hawaiian forests
  • Marine islands
  • Mayan and Caribbean forests
  • Oak savanna and chaparral
  • Pelagic and coastal waters
  • Polar Ice and tundra
  • Sagebrush
  • South American scrub and grass
  • Southern arid lands
  • Southern pine forests
  • Temperate rainforests

The habitat of the Blue-throated Hillstar in the páramo of the western Andes in Ecuador. Photo by Michael Moens.
The habitat of the Blue-throated Hillstar in the páramo of the western Andes in Ecuador. Photo by Michael Moens.

Fight 5 Critical Threats

Together, through on-the-ground action, public education, and advocacy, we will tackle ABC's Top 5 Threats to all birds, from the birds we love watching in our backyards to those we may never see. These threats are 1) Habitat loss 2) Climate change 3) Pesticides 4) Invasive species, especially outdoor cats, and 5) Collisions with windows, tall towers, power lines, and wind turbines.

CLICK: Read more about these threats and what ABC has already done to fight them

  1. Habitat loss is likely the single most significant threat to birds worldwide. For example, more than 90 percent of U.S. and Canadian native grassland is gone, and only five percent of natural habitat remains in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, a top biodiversity hotspot. ABC has already:
  • Protected more than 1 million acres of bird habitat for the rarest bird species and other wildlife sharing their habitats in Latin America
  • Helped to conserve and manage 6.4M acres of habitat for birds in the United States via our partnerships in Migratory Bird Joint Ventures
  1. Climate change greatly complicates conservation efforts, potentially shifting habitats, food supplies, and synchronization between birds and important food sources. ABC has already:
  • Planted over 6 million trees and shrubs to create bird habitat that also helps to sequester carbon
  • Generated a report on climate solutions and promoted renewable energy
  • Offset our own small carbon footprint through Verified Carbon Standard credits in a habitat conservation project with ABC's Guatemalan partner FUNDAECO and EcoSphere
  1. Pesticides affect birds both directly and indirectly via their food supplies, their impacts often reaching far beyond where they are applied. ABC has already:
  • Pushed for a ban on chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate harmful not only to birds and their food base, but also humans.
  • Studied long-lasting, far-reaching, and prevalent pesticides called neonicotinoids, finding that a single coated seed can kill a bird the size of a Blue Jay.
  1. Cats and other invasive species impact many birds and other wildlife. Cats alone are estimated to kill 2.4 billion birds a year in the United States. ABC has already:
  • Protected a colony of federally Threatened Piping Plover, successfully suing to remove feral cats from Jones Beach State Park, New York.
  • Advocated for responsible pet ownership ordinances and cat owner solutions, opposing Trap, Neuter, Release and other policies that keep cats running at large.
  1. Collisions with windows, tall towers, power lines, and wind turbines take a huge toll on birds each year. 650 million birds are thought to be lost each year in the United States and Canada after colliding with these obstacles. ABC has already:
  • Educated thousands of architects and worked directly on legislation around the country, resulting in more than 20 municipalities adopting bird-friendly building practices. Federal and state legislation efforts are in the works.
  • Convinced a growing number of communication towers to change steady burning to flashing lights greatly reducing bird-tower collisions.
  • Advocated for bird-smart wind to protect birds as we develop renewable energy sources