More than a century ago, Audubon pioneered the idea of citizen science with the first Christmas Bird Count. Today the longest-running wildlife census in the hemisphere continues to shape and inform our approach to conservation, providing vital information about bird populations and trends, data that alerts us to environmental threats not only to birds but to the larger ecosystems we all depend on. As partners with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in ebird.org, Audubon has helped transform citizen science into an everyday activity for tens of thousands of birders. Their observations, reported online anytime and from anywhere throughout North America, provide an ongoing assessment of bird populations that is fast becoming an invaluable resource for conservation.
New tools and resources are amplifying the impact and influence of Audubon’s scientific work and driving conservation impact. These include the adoption of an adaptive management tool, the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation, for conservation planning and implementation. Using this results-driven methodology throughout the Audubon network will make us more agile and nimble, and support a continuous improvement model of assessment and refinement.
Science is the foundation of Audubon’s Important Bird Areas program. As partner of BirdLife International, we use science to identify, assess, and monitor the most essential habitat for birds. These sites help us focus our conservation efforts where they are most needed.
By increasing our use of GIS-based modeling, Audubon can provide clear pictures of changes in bird abundance and distributions through space and time. It enables us to predict the impacts of climate change on particular species or habitats—and design conservation approaches that will mitigate them.