Review of Birder’s Conservation Handbook

No birder can deny the simple truth that our birds are declining. Countless reports and our own observations can attest to the alarming decline of numerous avian species. The facts can be discouraging, disheartening, and leave us in a state of despair. We think this book can help bring a change to these feelings.

Birder’s Conservation Handbook: 100 North American Birds at Risk is a spectacular volume written by Jeffrey V. Wells. Wells has held many top positions in the field of conservation and is currently the Senior Scientist for the Boreal Songbird Initiative. His expertise transposes onto the 452 pages of quality information in the Handbook.

The Handbook is the first of its kind, a book written for birders that wish to learn about bird conservation and what they can do to help the birds they love. The Handbook:

  • Highlights real problems birds face but with a focus on the actual and potential solutions to these problems
  • Has a strong focus on the importance of Citizen Science
  • Consists of detailed species accounts for 100 of the most “at risk” birds in North America
  • Is wonderfully proactive in portraying what needs to be done to stop birds from declining further and bring back the rarest of the rare from the brink of extinction

Of the 100 species featured in the Handbook, many are obvious: birds such as Whooping Crane, California Condor, and Kirtland’s Warbler are well known in the birding community and already have legions of supporters and conservation efforts in place. However, some of the species might come as a surprise to some birders. American Woodcock, Rufous Hummingbird, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Bay-breasted Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, and Painted Bunting are some of the birds that are declining yet still are in need of massive conservation efforts to help them.

A few species included in the Handbook might garner some criticism: Bachman’s Warbler, Eskimo Curlew, and Ivory-billed Woodpecker. But it is our belief that the inclusion of these birds is worthwhile and important. The lessons of their plight as well as the hope of their continued existence are important to conservation. Even if they are beyond saving, we owe it to future generations to never forget them.

Birder’s Conservation Handbook shows us how we still have time to be proactive and save our most vulnerable birds. It is up to all of us as birders to take the initiative to be conservationists. We can all do more and this book shows us how.

Parting thought: Few books have the ability to empower the reader as well as the Birder’s Conservation Handbook. No birder should be without it.

Rating: 10 out of 10 feathers!!

11 thoughts on “Review of Birder’s Conservation Handbook

  1. I have noticed the last two weeks of the disappearence of the finch and the humming birds. It is two early for this. Has anyone an explanation for the problem. We usually have finch the year around.

  2. Doug – hummingbirds may be fueling up on more insects than nectar to prepare for the rest of their migration. Finches (gold, house, etc.) may just be making the rounds or are being frightened by something (raptor, cat, etc.)… I’d give it time and observe… what other details such as your location, feeders, etc. could help determine why this may be?

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