Evolution is a natural, irresistible force–but humans play a part. And just as species evolve, so do organizations. American Bird Conservancy is no exception.
Our evolution has been in direct response to the growing challenges birds face. As those challenges change and increase, we are prepared to adapt quickly to meet them head on. We are, and will always be, the bird conservation group actively protecting wild birds and their habitats. Simply put – bird conservation is in our DNA.
Some of our greatest achievements were early in our history and spurred the creation of important ABC programs. In 1998, with a staff of six, ABC had our first major win against pesticides. Mass die-offs of Swainson's Hawks were linked to monochrotophos, a pesticide banned in the United States but widely used in Argentina.
After a high-profile meeting with ABC and other groups, the maker of the pesticide agreed to stop distributing the product in the hawk's wintering grounds, leading to stabilization of the population. This victory led to the creation of ABC's pesticide program; to date ABC has helped restrict more than 30 harmful pesticides.
In 1999, ABC responded to a threat in western Mexico from a logging road in an important area for Military Macaws, Eared Quetzals, and 150+ other bird species. ABC helped stop the road and initiate a collaboration with local groups that led to the protection of more than 25,000 acres of pine-oak forest. This project gave rise to ABC's land protection program; today, ABC and our partners have completed 95 projects to protect nearly one million acres of important bird habitat throughout the Americas.
Fast forward 10 years. As ABC's staff grew, we were able to cover a greater geography and protect hundreds more bird species. For instance, in 2011, we deepened our involvement in Hawai'i – the “bird extinction capital of the world.” Since the arrival of Europeans to the Hawaiian Islands, 71 bird species have become extinct out of a total of 113 endemic species.
Of the remaining species, 32 are on the federal endangered species list, including the Millerbird. With less than 1,000 birds left on just one remote island, Nihoa, it was time to act. With several partners, ABC moved 50 Millerbirds from Nihoa over 625 miles by ship to establish a second population on Laysan Island. Every bird survived the journey, and the new population has more than tripled in size—a reassuring back-up population for this rare species.
Today, big changes are afoot at ABC. We are changing our President and our Board Chair, and after 23 years of steady growth and results, are challenging ourselves to take bird conservation results to a higher level, across a much vaster geography.
With your help, we can scale up our Migratory Bird program and make a greater impact on BirdScapes, defined as the most important breeding, wintering, and staging habitats for migrants. We can defend the framework of government laws and agencies that protect our birds. We can benefit the 100+ endangered birds that currently do not have protection.
Thanks to generous ABC supporters, from now until June 30 we have a dollar for dollar challenge match in effect. Make a gift today and your contribution will be doubled!