Thursday, July 7, 2011

BirdLife International: They speak for the birds

BirdLife International logo
The good people at BirdLife International (formerly the International Council for Bird Preservation) have been protecting endangered birds since 1922.  BirdLife is an alliance(the largest conservation alliance globally) of many different conservation and scientific organizations (like the National Audubon Society and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) banded together so BirdLife can unite resources, determine important directions within research and conservation to pursue and give the bird conservation community a stronger lobbying position.

BirdLife International's services are particularly important.  BirdLife's ornithological data collection ability is unsurpassed, and the IUCN uses them when they determine bird species population statuses.  Given their population database and their field biologist access (who conduct the population surveys), BirdLife can determine which areas are most important (Important Bird Areas, or IBAs) and will protect more endangered bird species.  BirdLife can then focus their gathered scientific knowledge from all their different partners and formulate a plan which best ensures that the maximum IBA numbers are protected quickly.  This effective coordination enables them to own or manage over one million hectares for bird preservation globally.

Because BirdLife International is global but also composed of many local organizations, it can collate and organize over a global scale while also being extremely effective over a local scale.  That is probably their greatest strength and it serves them well.  BirdLife can identify priority areas and species with the most urgent needs and how to best address those needs, and then usie their local networks which are already in place and act quickly and decisively among those partner organizations which are already a part of the local conservation fabric.  Global strength and local expertise work hand in hand.
BirdLife runs so many projects I do not have time to cover them all.  This is not a bad thing, and is a result of their large size.  Although BirdLife International is a very large organization, since they cover all bird species globally they can always use more help, so take a look at their many international programs and help them if you can, either through money or more tangible ways.  The birds will thank you.

Interested in Birds?  Check out these links/books:

BirdLife International has an amazing database regarding every bird species globally (although much more data has been gathered regarding endangered species).

If you are completely crazy about birds and have a big wad of money burning a hole through your pocket, look into the Handbook of the Birds of the World (in 16 volumes, each volume is ~US$250-300); it's very expensive but extremely well done and covers every bird species, including beautiful color plates illustrating every species.  It is currently the single most complete information source concerning all birds.
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