We love to travel to find new birds and participate in a lot of bird counts. We also created a Guide to Birding Field Guides and host a collection of over 200 birding links from all over the globe.


While our main focus continues to be birds, we promote other areas of conservation as well. Conserving land not only benefits wildlife, but is hugely beneficial to people as well.

Year of the Young Birder

2013 is officially The Year of the Young Birder! We plan on spending the whole year promoting young birder clubs and sharing ideas on how to help student naturalists become lifelong conservationists.

Ohio | Illinois | Iowa | Michigan | Indiana
Minnesota | New York

Check out the Book Review Library!

Ohio Young Birders Club – Sitting for Conservation

October 14, 2011
Article in: Take Kids Birding

The upcoming Big Sit benefits kids and conservationAllison with Bins

The Ohio Young Birders Club is agian gearing up to sit all day for conservation – this time in Port Clinton, Ohio. Last year, they raised $3,400 for habitat conservation on Middle Bass Island. This year’s big sit is October 16th and proceeds will go to help the City of Port Clinton with habitat restoration at the Port Clinton Lakefront Preserve.

The location of the Big Sit is the same property of the June BioBlitz so this will help their efforts to study and document the area. Anyone and everyone is welcome to come.

One of the most recent public acquisitions along Ohio’s coast, the Port Clinton Lakefront Preserve connects two existing parks to create a nearly one mile stretch of Lake Erie access.

In November 2009 the city of Port Clinton finalized the purchase of the preserve, which includes 12 acres of coastal wetlands, marsh and a one-third mile sand beach. – Ohio DNR Website

Anyone can help out, whether you are at the event or not! This directly helps young birders AND habitat restoration of the new Port Clinton Lakefront Preserve.

You can find details of how you can help on the Ohio Young Birders Club website.

Big Sit Donation Form

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Biggest Week in American Birding – Connecting People with Nature

May 9, 2011
Article in: Bird Conservation

The Biggest Week in American Birding – GO! Year two is in full swing and the number of birders in attendance = up! The ten-day long birding extravaganza is full of workshops, guided walks, keynote speakers…and BIRDS! Lots and lots of migrating birds.

Warblers, warblers everywhere at the Magee Marsh Boardwalk
Birders on the Boardwalk
Photo by Dakota Callaway

This event is incredibly encouraging for bird conservation. Because of the Black Swamp Bird Observatory and all the volunteers and sponsors who make this event possible, birders are spending money, gaining knowledge and making birding popular. This is really important!!!

Spending Money for Conservation
This one seems like a no-brainer to us, but the word is still getting out to businesses. We want to make it worthwhile for places to create more habitat and birding/wildlife areas. Tourism is big business and birders should be counted as main contributors in places of wild goodness. If they build it, we WILL come…and spend money! Birders need food and shelter too.

Taking a Bird Break at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
Field Notes

Gaining Knowledge for Conservation
The Black Swamp Bird Observatory has been doing research for many years. Passerine migration monitoring and other bird studies are giving us the tools we need to manage and sustain bird populations. They have been doing research here since before the observatory existed! This knowledge gives us the power to fight battles to ensure our birds get a chance, even if it means stepping on some toes. A great example is the current fight against putting wind turbines in areas where there is heavy bird migratory traffic. Renewable energy is awesome, but there still must be rules and studies to make sure they aren’t causing a new problem. Knowing really is half the battle.

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
Photo by Dakota Callaway

Making Birding Popular!
Birding really is for everyone. The Biggest Week in American Birding has achieved something that seems almost impossible. It connects large numbers of people directly with birds and nature while simultaneously promoting and teaching about conservation. The joy felt while watching a beautiful bird is much intensified when you realize that the money you paid to hear Kenn Kaufman give an amazing shorebird identification workshop goes directly to the BSBO and CONSERVATION. There are so many amazing folks that make this work, from the Tropical Birding volunteers that steer us to the correct identification of a Mourning Warbler to the beautiful BSBO executive director Kim Kaufman who from dawn to dusk works her tail off for the birds.

We only have one small recommendation for next year…
It is our sincere wish that ALL vendors great and small decide to serve SHADE GROWN COFFEE CERTIFIED WITH THE SMITHSONIAN MIGRATORY BIRD CENTER SEAL OF APPROVAL. :)

Things are Looking up for us!
Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler photo by Dakota Callaway


Bird Conservation – Pinyon Jay

January 7, 2009
Article in: Bird Conservation

Pinyon Jays (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus) are a western jay found in pinyon pine habitat. Some important breeding sites include El Malpais National Monument and National Conservation Area found in New Mexico and Desert National Wildlife Range and Great Basin National Park found in Nevada.

Forty years worth of breeding bird survey data show a more than 80 percent decline of this beautiful corvid. Population estimates as of 2004 were around 4.1 million birds, a respectable number. The biggest threat to Pinyon Jays is habitat destruction, including pinyon-juniper, chaparral and other scrubby habitats.

Partners in Flight bird conservation plans in many of the states Pinyon Jays are found have identified it as a high priority species, however, this species is poorly monitored and has little focused conservation efforts in place. Much is needed to reverse this downward trend including:

A good place to start for conserving Pinyon Jays and other declining birds is by checking out Birder’s Conservation Handbook: 100 North American Birds at Risk

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Bird Conservation – Piping Plover

September 16, 2008
Article in: Bird Conservation

The Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) has suffered serious decline due to habitat destruction along Atlantic, Gulf Coast, and Great Lake shorelines as well as in the Great Plains.

2001 population estimates totalled 5,945 individual birds:

Important breeding areas in New England include Cape Cod National Seashore, Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge and Duxbury/Plymouth Bay’s Complex Important Bird Area. In the Great Lakes region, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan is the most important breeding site. Important areas of the Great Plains are mostly found in Saskatchewan and North Dakota, where the Nature Conservancy’s John E. Williams Preserve supports one of the largest populations in the world, sometimes over 200 birds.

Piping Plover

Conservation Needs

Conservation Action

Organizations like Massachusetts Audubon Society and the Maine Audubon Society have engaged numerous staff members and interns plus volunteers to create predator barriers and promote education and awareness. Coupled with other organizations including the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, Piping Plover pairs increased from 139 to 495 between 1986 and 2001. Maine Audubon also was successful by more than tripling numbers from 15 to 55 pairs.

In the Great Plains conservation is more limited but several Nature Conservancy sites and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working with private landowners in North Dakota and Montana. In Nebraska, the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership has an adopt-a-colony program and works to reduce mining activities near plover nests.

Despite the efforts, Great Plains populations are still declining overall, but Atlantic Coast numbers have more than doubled since the 1980s.

Piping Plover Chick

Check out the Audubon WatchList for ways you can help. You can also help by donating to the Nature Conservancy.

Full details on this species and 99 other North American birds at risk can be found in Jeffrey V. Wells’ Birder’s Conservation Handbook.


Bird Conservation – Prothonotary Warbler

June 21, 2008
Article in: Bird Conservation

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warblers (Protonotaria citrea)are one of the few songbirds to nest in cavities and inhabit much of the southeast and Great Lake states. They nest in swampy forests and winter along the coast of Central and South America. Their mangrove wintering sites are rapidly decreasing.

Prothonotary Warbler

In our area, Prothonotary Warblers are uncommon but found yearly along riparian areas. We have been lucky to see them often this year, perhaps due to high amounts of rainfall.

Conservation List

Prothonotary Warbler {Protonotaria citrea}

Conservation Action

Partners in Flight along with other conservation organizations such as Mississippi Valley Joint Venture, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Wildlife Program, The National Resources Conservation Service Wetland Reserve Program, Ducks Unlimited, and the Nature Conservancy have taken up efforts to increase acreage of proper habitat. Other organizations on the wintering grounds have been limited and stricter laws are needed (and enforced).

Prothonotary Warbler

In our area we have been tracking Prothonotary Warbler sightings to work on establishing nesting locations. We have hopes of creating a nest box program similar to what has been done for Eastern Bluebirds. However, according to the Birder’s Conservation Handbook, nest boxes have “increased local densities of breeding birds, though there is concern that birds breeding in nest boxes may have increased rates of nest predation”.

As of 2004, Prothonotary Warbler population was estimated at 1.8 million (39% decline since 1966). Full details on this species and 99 other North American birds at risk can be found in Jeffrey V. Wells’ Birder’s Conservation Handbook.


Duck Stamp Success

June 18, 2008
Article in: Bird Conservation

Ross' Goose Duck Stamp

Every time a Duck Stamp is bought, precious bird habitat is conserved. For every Duck Stamp purchased, 98 cents of every dollar goes directly to purchase land.

We found more proof showing how wonderful Duck Stamps are for conservation. The Mirgratory Bird Conservation Commission approved 18,118 acres of wetland and grassland habitat for Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge along with quite a few other grants.

Wood Duck

From the U.S. Department of Interior Press Release: As part of a suite of wetlands acquisition and conservation grant approvals, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission today approved $4 million to purchase more than 18,000 acres of prime prairie wetland and associated grassland habitat for the Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge in northwestern Minnesota – one of the largest purchases ever using dollars generated from Federal Duck Stamp sales and import duties on firearms and ammunition.

This huge land purchase shows how hunters and conservationists can come together and proof that Duck Stamps work.

This acquisition also secures habitat for three other National Wildlife Refuges.

  1. Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge – Oregon – 180 acres
  2. Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge – North Carolina – 1,481 acres
  3. Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge – Maine – 1,129 acres

Blue-winged Teal

Also approved:

  1. $24 million in federal funding to protect, restore, enchance and manage over 107,000 acres of habitat in North America under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA)
  2. $1.67 million for 27 projects affecting 28,657 acres in 24 states under the NAWCA Small Grants program
  3. $19.7 million for four Canadian projects affecting 80,000 acres
  4. $640,000 for two projects protecting 2,470 acres in Mexico