Lots of people love birds. Even so, lack of financial resources and political will threaten the measures needed to protect them.
People have long understood that human activities can harm birds. The publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in 1962 was a landmark in raising this awareness, and the celebration of the first Earth Day in 1970 marked the beginning of a heightened level of activism that continues to this day.
In spite of those advances, resources available for bird conservation lag far behind what is needed. The United States alone is home to 73 million Americans who feed or watch birds, but fewer than one percent of those bird-lovers supports bird conservation.
When it comes to federal funding, we estimate that only about 30 percent of the amount needed to protect America's birds effectively is provided.
Are Birds Out of Sight, Out of Mind?
People tend to see at least a few species of birds in their daily lives. As a result, most people don't realize that how many less-frequently-observed bird species are at risk of extinction. We believe this lack of awareness translates to a lack of resources for birds.
Still fewer people probably realize that protecting birds means protecting habitats that support a vast array of plants and other wildlife. When we take action to protect a bird species like Blue-billed Curassow or Cerulean Warbler, entire ecosystems are preserved.
These protected places help people, too, by ensuring sources of fresh water and slowing climate change.
Fighting for Funding for Birds
At ABC, we continue to push for increased funding to support bird conservation. There are successes: for example, our work on Golden-winged Warbler has received a major boost from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In Latin America, the needs are still greater. Many countries host species found nowhere else, like the Marvelous Spatuletail in Peru, as well as migratory species like Blackpoll Warbler that depend on Amazonian forests in winter.