Bird Conservation

As a Migratory Bird Joint Venture, the focus of our conservation work is on improving and restoring habitats for priority bird species in the Appalachian Mountains Bird Conservation RegionBird Conservation Regions (BCRs) are ecologically distinct regions in North America with similar bird communities, habitats, and resource management issues.  The AMJV administrative boundary and Appalachian Mountains BCR boundary are almost exactly the same.

More than 230 species of birds are found in the AMJV region during some portion of their life cycle. Many breed or over-winter here, some are year-round residents, and others only briefly stopover during migration. Some species have stable or increasing populations, whereas others are experiencing long-term declines.While our ideal goal is to have healthy and stable or increasing populations of all birds that breed in the Appalachians, the AMJV focuses on bird species in the greatest need of conservation attention – typically those that are experiencing the severest population declines and/or may have small population sizes.  We identify high priority species based on input from our partners as well as national-level bird conservation plans and other resources from groups like Partners in Flight.

Cerulean Warbler. Courtesy of Jeff Dyck/Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Golden-winged Warbler. Courtesy of Rob dinkerson/Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Wood Thrush. Courtesy of Mike Parr

Currently, the AMJV is placing the most emphasis on Golden-winged Warblers, Cerulean Warblers, and Wood Thrush and improving habitat to benefit these species.  This includes active management to improve habitat for these species, restoration efforts to restore forests in areas such as abandoned surface mines, and protection through tools like conservation easements.  However, while these species are our primary targets, we strive to take a holistic approach to our conservation efforts to achieve the greatest benefit to the full suite of plants and wildlife in the Appalachians.

Our bird conservation work includes working with state and federal partners to improve management on public lands, engaging landowners about opportunities for their private forestland, and working with researchers and university partners to better understand what is driving population declines.  Through our Focal Landscape Initiative, we are strategically targeting our capacity and resources to high-priority regions established by our partners within the AMJV geography.  Because many of the birds that breed in the Appalachians spend the winter in Central and South America, we also work with our partners to facilitate collaboration and greater involvement in international conservation efforts.