This year our conservation officers, bird advocates, students, ambassadors, volunteers and scientists have accomplished incredible things. In early December, more than 170,000 of us contacted decision makers more than 1,085,000 times on behalf of birds. All of the accomplishments listed below are the result of the hard work and dedication of our members, chapters, volunteers and staff. We are very proud of what we have been able to accomplish together over the past 12 months.
Read on to see the most important ways our herd has worked together this year.
Support passage of Illinois’ bird-friendly building law
In July last week, Illinois took an important step to minimize the impact on our built environment when Governor Pritzker signed the Bird Safe Buildings Act (HB 247). Bird-friendly design is required by law to be incorporated into the construction and renovation of buildings owned by the state of Illinois. This new law will require the use of bird-friendly construction techniques for any new construction or renovation buildings owned by the State of Illinois. At least 90 percent of the facade materials displayed on new state buildings will need to be glass which helps prevent bird strikes. It will also require that, where possible, the exterior lighting of the building is adequately protected to protect wildlife.
With this new law, Illinois joins Minnesota, New York City and several cities in California that have passed similar bird protection legislation.
Help get Lights Out programs in top 15 metro areas
This year, Tropical Audubon Society and Audubon successfully launched Lights Out Miami, fulfilling a goal Audubon’s Bird-Friendly Communities team has set to establish Lights Out programs in each of the 15 largest metropolitan areas. the United States. Fort Worth, Texas (Texas Conservation Alliance and Audubon Texas) and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, join Miami this year to launch Lights Out programs (read below for more on Bird-Safe Philly).
Bird-Safe Philly launched with Audubon Mid-Atlantic and Wyncote Audubon
Following the October 2020 mass collision event in downtown Philadelphia, Audubon and Audubon Mid-Atlantic and local partners came together to form Bird Safe Philly. The coalition is focused on a number of strategies and programs, including Lights Out Philly. Lights Out Philly debuted in Spring 2021 with Philadelphia City Council members presenting a “Lights Out” resolution recognizing the collision issue, the Bird Safe Philly collaboration and the value of Lights Out. The resolution was then adopted unanimously.
Launch of the Share the Shore Award program in New York and Connecticut
This year, Audubon’s Connecticut and New York office announced the the first Share the Shore award winners, celebrating two coastal communities with a long history of having a significant impact on vulnerable birds like the piping plover. The two winning communities were the City of West Haven, Connecticut and the City of Hempstead, New York. With over 1,500 people calling for more Share the Shore actions in their cities, Audubon is reaching out to local decision makers and offering to help them do more in their own community, from beach clean-ups to fencing and monitoring sites. nesting, and improving wildlife habitat.
Installing towers to help track migrating birds in South Carolina
In June, Audubon South Carolina partnered with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Duke Energy to unveil a Motus tower at Caesars Head, near Greenville, SC. Two other Motus towers have since been built on Audubon’s properties: Silver Bluff Audubon Center and Sanctuary and Audubon Center and Sanctuary at Francis Beidler Forest. These towers join the expanding network across the state that Audubon and its partners have built. The data collected by these towers provides a more detailed picture of the complete life cycles of priority Audubon birds such as the piping plover and the wood thrush.
Build a brand new island for terns in the Niagara River
A new island for Common Tern nesting welcomed its first wave of visitors this spring, just months after the island’s completion. Tern Island, which is about a third of an acre and was built with a rocky berm base and a pea sand / gravel mixture for the terrain, lasted about six months and is part of a collection of habitat islands, including Frog Island and Strawberry Island, near and in the Niagara River. The Buffalo Audubon Society, Audubon New York, Audubon Great Lakes, and the New York Department of Environmental Concerns collaborated in the design and construction of the island. Volunteers from Buffalo Audubon monitored the site and reported 150 pairs of Common Terns in its inaugural year.
Installation of nesting platforms for common terns in Maryland
In spring 2021, Audubon Mid-Atlantic and its partners Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Maryland Coastal Bays Program piloted an innovative project to provide artificial nesting platforms for the Common Tern, which are listed as Endangered by the State of Maryland. Workers set up a floating island, made up of wooden raft units, in a remote location in Chincoteague Bay on Maryland’s Atlantic coast. In its first season, the rig attracted 23 pairs of Common Terns to nest; these pairs hatched 36 chicks.
Pass proclamations, resolutions and ordinances for municipalities favorable to birds
During the year, state offices, centers, chapters and campus chapters across the country successfully obtained proclamations, resolutions or ordinances favorable to native plants or birds adopted in the local municipalities, including:
Help New Orleans become the first Gulf city to commit to zero carbon by 2050
In May, the New Orleans city council voted to pass bylaws that adopt the renewable and clean portfolio standard, establishing the framework by which the city’s electric utility is to move to net zero carbon emissions by 2040 and a zero carbon portfolio by 2050. This decision is the result of more than two years of engagement with City Council and Entergy New Orleans by Audubon Delta and partner organizations of the Energy Future New Orleans (EFNO) coalition.
Protecting the dunes from all-terrain vehicles in California
The Guadalupe-Nipomo dune complex is the largest remaining dune system on the west coast, home to migrating shorebirds and many endangered species, including one of the largest breeding sites for snow plovers. from the west to the Pacific coast. After years of advocacy by Audubon California and Audubon locals – and more than four decades of political inaction – the California Coastal Commission voted to phase out access to off-road vehicles (OHV) at Oceano Dunes over the next three years to protect this biodiversity hotspot.
Maintaining Water Quality in the Rockies
In July, the Colorado Water Conservation Board voted unanimously approve the temporary reserved flow lease to support 43 miles of benefit streams for Big Beaver Creek and White River in Rio Blanco County. In this year of extreme drought, water is needed in these streams quickly, and advocacy by Audubon members in the Rocky Mountain region has ensured that this can happen for two vital waterways in the Colorado.
Renovate important educational establishments
Audubon Vermont renovated the Centennial education barn ensure that the building will remain part of the rural and agricultural landscape until the next century. The barn is the heart of the Green Mountain Audubon Center. The improvements to the barn will improve and improve our ability to provide access to nature to more people year round. Audubon’s local chapter, the Green Mountain Audubon Society, owns the land and barn, and has helped raise funds for the project.
Advocating for Critical Stewardship Programs in Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Legislature Joint Finance Committee voted for re-authorize the Knowles-Nelson stewardship program for four years at $ 32 million per year. Since 1989, the stewardship program has aimed to preserve the natural areas and wildlife habitat that birds need in Wisconsin, including more than 370,000 acres in or near Important Bird Areas, Conservation Sites high priority species that provide critical habitat for birds. Hundreds of Audubon members across Wisconsin have advocated for Knowles-Nelson with state lawmakers on the importance of land and water conservation to Wisconsin birds.