The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's eNewsletter for land trusts, where we share up-to-date information about bird conservation and spotlight resources for your use.
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Bird Conservation for Land Trusts eNews

June 2016

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The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Land Trust Alliance are happy to announce the release of our new Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative website. The website brings together a plethora of resources aimed at giving land trusts the tools and know-how to engage in strategic bird conservation, while increasing their own capacity to meet important goals.

In 2013, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology began a Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative to determine the best ways to maximize the mutual benefits that birds and land trusts can provide to each other. To guide the development of our initiative, we first conducted a survey. Our results indicated that proactively facilitating partnerships between the bird conservation community and land trusts could benefit bird populations and help land trusts.

Given these results, we developed a website to bridge the gap between land trusts and bird conservation. Our website is now live! On it, you will find:

We hope this website is useful to land trusts and helps increase the pace and effectiveness of bird conservation. We would love to hear your feedback or about your success as a land trust focused on bird conservation.

© Ron Rohrbaugh

Birds On Your Land

A critical first step in strategic conservation is knowing where, when, and what species of wildlife occur on your land. eBird is an important tool available to land trusts for determining the presence/absence of bird species, monitoring populations, storing and visualizing data, and engaging the bird-watching community.

There are many benefits of eBird for land trusts, it can...

  1. Store monitoring information for your land trust

    Anyone can enter bird lists to monitor bird species in your area or to map overall abundance of a species on your lands over time.

  2. Increase outreach about your site

    eBird gives you a direct connection to citizen scientists in your community, state, and all over the world, which may lead to more volunteers, more supporters, and potentially more donors. 

  3. Have eBirders enter information about your site

    Creating eBird Hotspots at your sites is an excellent way to get more people, specifically birders, excited and out birding on your properties­.

  4. Help write proposals and receive funding

    Bird data are extremely useful for writing grant proposals, for conservation easement justifications, or for engaging a potential donor.

  5. Facilitate decision-making with data

    Bird data can contribute significantly to the decision process when considering land for protection, investing in an acquisition, or crafting an easement. You can also use data to determine your priority areas in a strategic conservation plan.

In the eBird section of the website, we also...

© Kelly Schaeffer

Resource Directory

The existing network of bird conservation partners and resources provides an excellent opportunity for land trusts to engage in conservation at different scales. Our website features a Resource Directory that is designed especially for land trusts: bringing many of the resources together in one place and helping navigate the resources to find what is pertinent to land trusts.

The resources can be useful for land trusts' funding proposals, community outreach, strategic conservation planning, land acquisition and easement justification, management plan development, and monitoring. The resources on the website are organized by four categories: Engaging People, Planning, Management Guides, and Presentations and Publications.
Golden-winged Warbler

What to Expect

This newsletter is part of a series focused on land trusts and bird conservation. In this edition, we introduce our new website for land trusts and spotlight its various functions and resources.

If you would like to receive future installments, please sign up via our subscription list here.

© Linnea Rowse

Bird Conservation Funding Opportunities

Birds and bird conservation projects are great centerpieces around which to raise funds. Our website has a compiled list of national funding sources that are focused on bird conservation, such as the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the USDA Farm Bill & NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Each source is presented to maximize its usefulness to land trusts, especially highlighting opportunities to help facilitate the use of birds in fundraising plans, outreach programs, and land acquisitions/easements, or in leveraging other funding sources.

MVC Land Trust Sign
A Bobolink rests on a Mississippi Valley Conservancy (MVC) sign. MVC has successfully used birds to amplify their conservation efforts. © Abbie Church

Success Stories

There are numerous land trusts that have had exceptional experiences conserving both lands and birds; we interviewed some of these land trusts, and featured one of them below.

Their stories have inspired other land trusts interested in becoming more involved in bird conservation and demonstrated how a land trust can benefit from bird conservation, including which first steps to take. We encourage you to read the success stories to learn more about their bird conservation efforts, and what they did to succeed.

Featured Land Trust: Mississippi Valley Conservancy (MVC)
Location: Southwestern Wisconsin
Staff Members: 8 (5 full-time)
Bird Conservation Resource: Partnership with a Local Bird Conservation Organization
Interviewee: Abbie Church, Conservation Director

"MVC recognized the need to prioritize species and habitats, but was limited by the skill set and amount of time its small staff and volunteer board could dedicate to this task. Because of their limited capacity, MVC reached out to their local Audubon chapter, the Coulee Region Audubon Society, and asked if they had volunteers who could come out to private properties and conduct informal bird surveys.

Church explains, 'Volunteers immediately came out and became very excited about our land, saying that what we had was good habitat for birds. The enthusiasm, knowledge, and skill set of volunteers with the Coulee Region Audubon Society transferred to the landowners who owned the land, and who then wanted to conserve their land permanently with conservation easements.'"

To read the rest of the interview, check out the success story on our website.

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The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at

Copyright © 2016 Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All rights reserved.

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