Bird conservation comes in many ways from many people and organizations. Conserving habitat for ducks (and other waterfowl) helps increase populations of these birds along with many other wetland and prairie bird species. Ducks Unlimited is a leading force for bird conservation and although they represent hunters, birders benefit greatly from their efficient conservation efforts.
Ducks Unlimited was founded in 1937 during a turbulent time of vanishing wetlands and waterfowl. Today they are a world leader in bird conservation responsible for nearly 13 million acres of land conserved. DU’s Wetlands for Tomorrow campaign seeks to raise $1.7 billion for wetland conservation. Their strategic initiatives include:
- The North American Grasslands Conservation Initiative
- The Western Boreal Forest Conservation Initiative
- The Louisiana Coastal Conservation Initiative
- North America’s Threatened Wetlands Conservation Initiative
- The Pintail Conservation Initiative
- The Mallard Conservation Initiative
- The Educating Youth About Wetlands Initiative
- The Strategic Conservation Initiative Fund
- Endowment Initiative
It is important to note that these conservation efforts help many more birds than just waterfowl. Particularly, the grasslands of the Great Plains which provides superb habitat for breeding birds and the Boreal Forest which hosts unbelievable numbers of migratory songbirds.
The grasslands of North America are the world’s best waterfowl breeding habitat. This mix of shallow ponds surrounded by native grasses attracts millions of breeding waterfowl each year. Today, less than one quarter of our original prairie grasslands remains, and what is left is under imminent threat of destruction. Despite such dramatic habitat loss, the prairies of North America still provide the most important habitat for nesting waterfowl. – Ducks Unlimited
The conservation efforts Ducks Unlimited has initiated benefits more than just birds. Restoring wetlands increases recreation, water quality, and flood control among others. Increasing grassland habitat has economic benefits, improves soil quality, and provides carbon storage.
I am a Ducks Unlimited member but am not a duck hunter. I support DU’s conservation efforts because 86% of their funding goes to waterfowl/wetland conservation efforts. They’ve done an excellent job of blending the mix of hunting and conservation to provide wins for everyone including the overall populations of birds.