Welcome to our new Partners in Flight web page!
Whether you are new to Partners in Flight or have been around a while, this web page has resources, tools, information and insights that I hope you find useful. Enjoy and engage, celebrate and contribute and especially join us in the work and opportunities outlined in these pages.
“Keeping common birds common” has been the drumbeat of Partners in Flight since its inception in 1990. But I often ponder, what does that mean? How do we gauge success around such an expansive statement? Clearly as individuals and society we value rarity. Throughout time however, abundance has also that captivated us. What would any of us give to stand under a flock of Passenger Pigeons that took hours or even days to pass us by?
Or maybe we value abundance only after it’s gone. As a kid in Tennessee, I chased birds with binoculars some days, a shotgun on other days and a camera some other days. And, usually, each of these pursuits involved a totally different group of adults letting me tag along. All were strong conservationists but with different passions about their pursuit. But they shared with me a similar story – whether it was about bobwhites or mallards, warblers or sparrows, they all said, “I used to see a lot more of these birds”.
Yet as a kid, I thought I was seeing an historic abundance of birds and having a great time. But there’s the thing about abundance. Each generation is tricked into believing they are seeing an abundance of birds when in fact, it’s a much smaller percentage of what others before us have seen.
The 2016 Partners in Flight plan bears this out. Consider, for example, the “half-life” metric debuted in the plan – it is the number of years that a species population will decline by 50% given current population trends. A human generation is generally considered to be about 30 years, the time a cohort of people will grow up and reach adulthood with roughly the same world view shaped by global events, challenges and celebrations. The generation born today, by the age of 30 will see only half the Eastern Meadowlarks, Loggerhead Shrikes and Cactus Wrens we see today. Other species will decline as well. In fact, of 86 Watch List species in the Partners in Flight plan, nearly 15% of those species populations will be cut in half before those kids born today reach 30 years old.
It doesn’t have to keep going that direction – that’s why the Partners in Flight mission is to “keep common birds common.” Not only does Partners in Flight work to change the long term decline of bird populations; we measure and ensure a scale of abundance that is worthy of what our predecessors were witness to and an abundance of birds that our future generations deserve.
International collaboration is critical to conserving landbird populations. Let’s work together. Contact us for more information