U.S. NABCI Committee
Our goal is to facilitate the delivery of the full spectrum of bird conservation through regionally based, biologically
driven, landscape-oriented partnerships.
The conservation community needs the support of new partnerships and additional resources in its quest to more
efficiently secure the future for all of North America’s wild birds. The North American Bird Conservation Initiative
(NABCI) is prepared to help meet these challenges and bring to life the vision of integrated bird conservation.
U.S. NABCI Committee
Jamie R. Clark, Co-chair
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
David Waller, Co-chair
Director, Wildlife Resources Division, Georgia Department of Natural Resources
President, International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
James A. Kushlan
Center Director, U.S.Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center,
representing the North American Colonial Waterbird Conservation Plan
Gary T. Myers
Executive Director, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency,
representing Partners in Flight
Executive Director, Field Operations, National Audubon Society �� Alaska State Office,
representing the U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan
Assistant Director, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission,
representing the North American Waterfowl Management Plan
Assistant Director, Wildlife Division, South Dakota Department of Fish and Game,
representing the National Flyway Council
President, American Bird Conservancy,
representing the Non-Governmental Organizations Subcommittee
Director, International Programs, USDA Forest Service,
representing the Federal Agency Subcommittee
Rollin D. Sparrowe
President, Wildlife Management Institute
Group Manager, Conservation Programs, Ducks Unlimited
U.S. NABCI Coordinator, American Bird Conservancy
Front cover (photos from top to bottom): Black-necked Stilt, R. Krey; Roseate Spoonbills, George Gentry; Northern Cardinal, Karen Hollingsworth;
Emperor Geese, Dave Menke.
Back cover (photos from top to bottom): Whimbrel, Elizabeth Mallory, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences; Hooded Merganser, Tim McCabe;
Wood Storks, Karen Hollingsworth; Lapland Longspur, James C. Leupold.
Unless otherwise noted, all photographs are the property of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Every day, day and night, birds are nesting or migrating
throughout the varied landscapes of North America. They are
an integral part of our lives, whether we encounter them in
remote areas with gun, camera, or binoculars or observe them
from our kitchen window or while walking on a city street.
From shorebirds and waterfowl to seabirds, herons, and song-birds,
over 1,100 species of birds can be found in our conti-nent’s
Arctic tundra, deserts, wetlands, grasslands, mountains,
Populations for many of these species, however, are in trou-ble.
Some songbird populations have declined dramatically:
Cerulean Warbler, Loggerhead Shrike, and Painted Bunting
populations have plummeted 60 to 75 percent over the past
three decades. Of the ducks identified in the North American
Waterfowl Management Plan, Northern Pintail and Scaup
remain significantly below Plan population goals. Of the 50
shorebird species that breed in the United States, almost half
are considered to have undergone notable population declines.
The status of most colonial waterbirds is poorly known, but it
is suspected that many are following the trajectory of the
Black Tern, which has declined 61 percent since the mid-
The North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI),
a coalition of U.S., Canadian, and Mexican governmental
agencies and private organizations, is the most inclusive
framework for bird conservation ever assembled on this or any
other continent. For the first time ever, the vast majority of
leaders in natural resource management and biological diver-sity
conservation are agreeing to work together on a shared
vision of bird conservation. Founded on the strengths and
knowledge that have accumulated through the years in the
conservation community, NABCI will bring together the
resources to effect more efficient bird conservation.
This brochure provides you with the U.S. NABCI Committee’s
vision and model for conservation and proposes to you, the
conservationist and land manager, how we will work for you.
We are committed to providing leadership for a shared vision
of bird conservation. We will leverage new resources and
channel them to people working on the ground. We will help
to build bridges and to expand current conservation partner-ships.
This initiative will help to create an environment in
which all concerned with the health of the land—natural
resource managers, hunters, landowners, birdwatchers, and
others—can work together to achieve common goals.
The North American Bird
Conservation Initiative (NABCI),
a coalition of U.S., Canadian, and
Mexican governmental agencies
and private organizations, is the
most inclusive framework for bird
conservation ever assembled on
this or any other continent.
What does NABCI add to the work
already being accomplished?
The primary role of NABCI is to coordinate, not
duplicate, the efforts of the four major bird plans:
North American Waterfowl Management Plan,
Partners In Flight, U.S. Shorebird Conservation
Plan, and North American Colonial Waterbird
Plan. Many of the birds targeted by these plans
share the same habitats. By leveraging the plans’
limited resources, both human and financial, we
will improve the outlook for bird conservation
across all of North America.
As a partner in NABCI, you can add to work
already being accomplished by promoting the use
of birds as focal species for landscape-conservation
planning. You can also promote the management
of habitats to benefit both game and nongame
Great Blue Heron
birds, be they migratory or nonmigra-tory.
With partners sending a consistent
bird-conservation and land-manage-ment
message to the public, we will be
more likely to receive the support
needed to broaden the scope and suc-cess
of our conservation work. In fos-tering
international cooperation, we
will ensure the conservation of migra-tory
birds throughout their continental
ranges. Using the concept of integrated
conservation, partners in NABCI will
ultimately help to keep birds, as well as
other species that share their habitats,
from becoming endangered.
This integrated approach to bird con-servation
will help to minimize the
conflicts that characterize many envi-ronmental
issues and to attract the
involvement of many nontraditional
partners. Because most birds are tolerant
of a wide variety of primary land uses,
well-conceived and well-managed pro-grams
of recreation, silviculture, grazing,
and many other practices can support
important segments of our bird life.
Of the 50 shorebird species that breed
in the United States, almost half are
considered to have undergone notable
E & P BAUER
KAREN HOLLINGSWORTH JAMES P. MATTSSON Mallllarrd Forrstterr’’s Terrn
Why should all of this attention
be focused on birds?
First, healthy bird populations are indicators of
healthy ecosystems, which are needed by both
wildlife and people. Second, birds are important in
their own right, as significant components of our
biological heritage and in performing numerous
ecological roles. Some of those roles, such as con-trolling
pest-insect populations, bring us enormous
economic benefits. Finally, birdwatching is the
fastest-growing form of outdoor recreation in the
United States—some 63 million participants as of
1997—and hunting of game birds is a rich tradi-tion
held dear by millions. It’s safe to conclude that
interest in birds in the United States is widely
shared and growing.
What is the value of
an international initiative?
Many of North America’s birds are an international
resource by virtue of their annual migration across
national borders. Successful conservation of such
migratory bird populations depends upon conser-vation
and management in every part of their range.
International communication and coordination is a
fundamental aspect of NABCI. International sup-port
of NABCI can result in increased resources for
all involved—more than any one country alone
would be able to generate for bird conservation.
Canada and Mexico are full partners in NABCI. At
some point in the future, other countries south of
Mexico and in the Caribbean also may become
What do birds need?
More than anything else, birds need functioning
ecosystems throughout their ranges. Like all other
living creatures, birds also need clean air and water
and an environment free of toxic chemicals and
pathogens. Or simply stated, they need safe and
healthy places to feed, rest, and reproduce.
Some songbird populations have
declined dramatically: Cerulean
Warbler, Loggerhead Shrike, and
Painted Bunting populations have
plummeted 60 to 75 percent over the
past three decades.
KAREN HOLLINGSWORTH KAREN HOLLINGSWORTH
Black Skimmers Northern Shoveler
How can these needs be met?
The first step in meeting these needs is compre-hensive
planning, which must be based on the best
biological knowledge available and the socio-economic
characteristics of a region. Those con-cerned
with or affected by bird conservation must
be active participants in the process. The four bird
plans have made great progress laying the neces-sary
biological foundation for conservation. Under
NABCI, the objectives for the bird groups will be
integrated and translated into explicit habitat rec-ommendations.
The result will be a shared vision
of landscape conservation in which the long-term
well-being of birds is balanced with other uses of
A shared concept of geography and landscapes is
critical to effective planning. To that end, partici-pants
in NABCI have adopted a map of North
JAMES C. LEUPOLD
America that delineates geographic areas called Bird Conservation
Regions (BCRs). A BCR encompasses landscapes having similar
bird communities, habitats, and resource issues. It will be the fun-damental
biological unit in which integrated bird conservation—
including planning, implementation, and evaluation—will be
delivered. The map and a booklet containing BCR descriptions can
be found in the pocket at the back of this brochure.
After planning comes implementation, which requires resources
and infrastructure. The best existing infrastructure is found in the
North American Waterfowl Management Plan’s joint ventures.
These self-directed, grassroots partnerships are working to achieve
regional objectives based on local needs, opportunities, and limita-tions,
but they are guided by international conservation principles
and continental goals. The 11 U.S. habitat joint ventures have
already taken on the mission of conserving all birds. For those
BCRs not covered by a current joint venture, existing joint venture
boundaries may expand to cover a broader area, or a new joint
venture may form to fill the void. We envision a nation of coast-to-
coast joint ventures.
As implementation progresses, we should assess the status of bird
populations and the conditions of key habitats. We must test the
assumptions made during the planning process by monitoring
responses to conservation actions and then, in light of those
responses, refine the adaptive process: plan, implement, evaluate.
Critical research programs that support these field activities also
will be adjusted to address emerging issues.
Of the ducks identified
in the North American
Plan, Northern Pintail and
Scaup remain significantly
below Plan population goals.
Trumpeter Swans Prairie Warbler
JAMES C. LEUPOLD S. MASLOWSKI
The status of most colonial waterbirds is
poorly known, but it is suspected that
many are following the trajectory of the
Black Tern, which has declined 61
percent since the mid-1960s.
What can I do to help?
You can join existing partnerships, giving financial
support or expertise, whether it be in biological or
computer science, land management, economics,
communications, or any other discipline that will
aid in the conservation of birds. You also can sup-port
the development of a joint venture where
none exists. We have a lot of ground to cover to
create coast-to-coast joint ventures. We really do
need your help in bringing it all together.
For additional information about NABCI and how
you can become involved, contact the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service’s Division of Bird Habitat
Conservation, which provides administrative sup-port
to the U.S. NABCI Committee. Contact infor-mation
is on the back cover of this brochure.
Printed on recycled paper.
Additional copies of this brochure may be obtained from the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Division of Bird Habitat Conservation
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 110
Arlington, Virginia 22203
Phone (703) 358-1784
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