Avian Conservation Research

Support Avian Conservation Research through the National Aviary 

Researchers come to the field of avian conservation biology for many reasons. Some are motivated by the sheer beauty and diversity of the world’s birds. Others are challenged by fundamental questions of ecology and evolution, such as how so many species came to exist, why a species may have elaborate plumage, or how a migratory bird locates breeding and wintering grounds each year. Still others are concerned with the sustainability of populations of game species and are asking what can be done to maintain or expand bird populations for recreational users.

But the one thing that nearly all researchers have in common, and that they share with birdwatchers and nature-lovers around the world, is an innate understanding that birds add to our own quality of life. Whether they live in rural areas, suburbs or cities, most people encounter birds every day. Birds are an important and highly visible part of ecosystems, and are integral to the natural environment that everyone shares. Birds provide recreational opportunities and generate economic benefits by supporting nature watching, photography, tourism, hunting and other outdoor activities. In fact, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 46 million American birdwatchers generate more than $32 billion in retail purchases, and $85 billion in related economic activity, creating more than 860,000 jobs.

Birds also enhance the human condition in more subtle ways. Birds, natural resources, and wildlife habitat impact our quality of life. Birds are an important component of healthy ecosystems and provide services through dispersing seeds, controlling insect pests, and even reducing the potential for some disease outbreaks. One need not be a birdwatcher to appreciate the first spring song of the returning robin, to feel a charge when a bright bluebird flashes across the meadow, or be uplifted in mid-winter by the crimson red cardinal in a snow-covered dogwood tree. And even when unseen, who is not thrilled just to know that the world’s rainforests still contain Chestnut-mandibled Toucans, that Emperor Penguins still wander the ice, that Ruffed Grouse still drum on hollow logs, and that the boreal forest still hosts millions of nesting warblers? These are intangible gems of awareness that cannot be priced, and these gems add to the quality of life for all people.

As researchers and conservationists, as birdwatchers and naturalists, as citizens— as humans—we share a common responsibility to help foster a sustainable environment for future generations. At the National Aviary, we strive daily to share our fascination and excitement for birds with children and adults alike. As our mission states, “We inspire respect for nature through an appreciation of birds.” Our Department of Conservation and Field Research is founded on the knowledge that human populations and our patterns of consumption of natural resources are dramatically impacting birds and their habitats. Our research and education efforts specifically target neglected conservation priorities to understand how human populations impact bird populations. The goal in this approach is to promote bird conservation and biodiversity protection to foster a sustainable environment and to help insure quality of life. At the National Aviary, we take steps to conserve birds and their habitat and to make our communities better places to live.

By visiting the National Aviary, becoming a member, or making a donation, you support this critical work that benefits our planet and all those who inhabit it.