Migratory Birds Welcomed Back North With Conservation Grants

WASHINGTON, DC, May 17, 2005 (ENS) - Plovers, terns, hawks, cranes, warblers and sparrows - more than 340 species of birds breed in the United States and Canada, and winter in Latin America. International Migratory Bird Day, which falls on the second Saturday in May, is being observed all this week by U.S. and Canadian schools, birding groups and zoos celebrating the return of the birds.

Interior Secretary Gale Norton today marked the 12th annual International Migratory Bird Day by announcing $3.9 million in federal grants to conserve birds throughout the Americas and the Caribbean.

At the same time Norton signed a declaration of intent with Canada and Mexico to strengthen cooperation on bird conservation. She signed the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) Declaration of Intent to "conserve North American birds throughout their ranges and habitats, and ultimately to collaborate with all participant nations regarding bird cooperation."

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The cerulean warbler, Dendroica cerulea, is classified as one of the most threatened Neotropical migrants, with fewer than 250,000 pairs estimated to remain. (Photo by Stuart Tingley courtesy USGS)
The North American Bird Conservation Initiative was launched in 1999 by the tri-national North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation, created by Canada, Mexico and the United States as a complement to the environmental provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

NABCI has completed the initial phase of establishing the institutional basis for undertaking the conservation of all birds in all habitats in North America and is now considered to be part of the agenda of the North American bird conservation community.

The overall goal of NABCI is to enhance cooperation among existing bird conservation organizations and initiatives to achieve effective protection of all birds in North America. The Initiative is designed to address the sharp decline of many migratory bird species in recent decades.

The declaration Norton signed will formalize the process for undertaking the Initiative. "The nations of the Americas and the Caribbean are linked by the birds that travel between thousands of miles as they migrate in the spring and fall," Norton said. "Working together, we can ensure these birds have the habitat they need both for their nesting and wintering seasons."

At the same time, Norton announced $3.9 million in grants to conserve migratory birds in 18 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and 25 Latin American and Caribbean countries. The partners that receive these grants will contribute nearly $18 million in matching funds.

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The hooded warbler, Wilsonia citrina,is listed under the Canadian Species at Risk Act. (Photo courtesy USFWS, Northeast Region)
The grants are made under the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 2000, which establishes a matching grants program to fund projects that promote the conservation of neotropical migratory birds in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The funds can be used to protect, research, monitor and manage bird populations and habitats as well as conduct law enforcement and community outreach and education. By law, 75 percent of the money goes to projects in Latin America and Caribbean countries while 25 percent goes to projects in the United States.

Global climate change, loss of stopover habitat, loss of winter habitat, acid rain, disruption of food supplies due to environmental contaminants, and the spread of competitives species such as the shiny cowbird, are all threats to neotropical migrant birds.

The migratory bird grants announced by Secretary Norton include habitat protection and enhancement projects.

Projects in the United States


Projects in the United States and Latin America/Caribbean Migratory Bird Conservation Resources

The International Migratory Bird Day website is here, and events are listed here. An exploratory interactive map displays events by location, and many events last all this month; some continue all year long.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 10 Year Blueprint for the Future of Migratory Birds is found here.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's website All About Birds with guidelines for conserving birds in backyards, grasslands, forests, on farms, and help in land use planning is found here.

The North American Bird Conservation Initiative Canada is online at: http://www.bsc-eoc.org/nabci.html

The North American Bird Conservation Initiative United States is found at: http://www.nabci-us.org/