American Birding Podcast



Bird Conservation: The Next Big Idea

07-PIF logo [RIGHT]In the November/December 2013 Birding, Andrew W. Rothman provides a recap of the Fifth International Partners in Flight Conference and Conservation Workshop (“PIF-V”), held in Park City, Utah, August 25–28, 2013. The PIF-V proceedings were commendably forward-looking. Rothman reports in his Birding article that the paper sessions, working groups, and such focused chiefly on tomorrow’s challenges, rather than on yesterday’s research and results.

Birds are still imperiled by climate change, habitat destruction, and a slew of other threats that, honestly, we’ve known about for quite some time now. Don’t get me wrong: Those are serious threats, and we birders need to continue to fight against them. But other challenges loom for bird conservationists—that is to say, for all of us.

I’m curious: What do you suppose these challenges are going to be? I get that climate change and habitat destruction will be central issues for decades to come. And in many parts of the world, DDT and overhunting are frustratingly persistent threats to birdlife. We’re not out of the woods yet on some of the major challenges from the 20th and even 19th centuries. But we also need to move forward, to formulate new strategies and paradigms for bird conservation in the 21st century. So, again, my question: What are they?

I have an idea about this, but I’d like to hear yours first. Please, please, please: Don’t assume that this conversation is open only to professional conservation biologists (although if you do qualify, we’d love to hear from you). Many of the great ideas in bird conservation have had grassroots origins. Let’s see what we can work out together here.

A hint: My idea presents a challenge to, and a huge opportunity for, the ABA.