Focused Bird Conservation – Saving At-Risk Birds Through Citizen Science

What is Focused Bird Conservation? Each time we as birders go out we have several goals: see more birds than last time, find a life bird, find a rare bird that was reported, get a great photograph, or just get out to enjoy the weather and birds. Often, these goals are what help expand our love of birding, but something’s missing when our sightings are kept secret; unintentionally hidden away from others.

Wood Thrush
Wood Thrush

But what if each time we went birding we had a new purpose: to find specific birds in need of conservation help? Focused Bird Conservation is exactly what it sounds like. By targeting birds of special concern like Cerulean Warblers, Henslow’s Sparrows, or Dickcissels, birding becomes more meaningful. Also, certain parks and preserves can be targeted for specific time periods to better understand the bird populations and what areas are better suited for birds.

The data collected from this studies can be used to further conservation efforts. Special localized plans can be set up to help declining birds. Important Bird Areas can be designated through this same process. We are currently working on a project to name the Kishwaukee River Corridor (one of the cleanest rivers in northern Illinois) or at least Deer Run, an IBA.

Golden-winged Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler

We have spearheaded a project with our local bird club, NCIOS, to count 14 declining birds in our area:

  1. Bell’s Vireo
  2. Bobolink
  3. Dickcissel
  4. Henslow’s Sparrow
  5. Red-headed Woodpecker
  6. Sedge Wren
  7. Blue-winged Warbler
  8. Cerulean Warbler
  9. Golden-winged Warbler
  10. Hooded Warbler
  11. Kentucky Warbler
  12. Prothonotary Warbler
  13. Whip-poor-will
  14. Wood Thrush

Blue-winged Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler

The goal is to get a baseline status of these birds in our county and the surrounding counties. We’ll be updating periodically through the spring and summer and have a full report in October.

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