The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation by Daniel J. Lebbin, Michael J. Parr, and George H. Fenwick. First published 2010. Hardcover, 456 pages.
As a reader of this blog, chances are that you do something to help birds. There are a lot of ways to help, and every little bit can make a difference. Maybe you volunteer for a bird rehabilitation center, or help with citizen science projects. Maybe you feed your backyard birds, or advocate to keep cats indoors. You've probably also heard of the American Bird Conservancy, and the amazing work they do to help the birds of the Americas. This new book from the ABC aims to "outline current priorities in bird conservation throughout the Americas, to identify the places where gaps currently exist and need to be filled, and to point to areas where future problems may arise so they can be preempted."
I had the pleasure last night to attend a presentation given by one of the authors of The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation, ABC President George H. Fenwick, at a meeting of the DuPage Birding Club. Dr. Fenwick's talk was lively, informative, and, somewhat surprisingly, not depressing as hell, considering the current state of many American bird populations (hint: it's not good). But the ABC, founded in 1994, has a lot of victories under its belt, despite the typical stumbles experienced by all new organizations. If you have the chance to see Dr. Fenwick speak, go! He's a great speaker.
Back to the review. This beautiful new book discusses the strategies the ABC and other organizations use to achieve their goals. High priority watchlist birds are presented with beautiful color illustrations, details on their conservation status, habitat and distribution, the threats they face, and what is being done or what must be done to help them. The sample image here shows four different threatened finch species.
Bird habitats of North America are also discussed, with important bird areas highlighted (international habitats are discussed separately). The habitats are shown using beautiful color composite mural-style drawings, showing several threatened bird species and the some of the dangers found in each habitat. General threats to birds are presented in detail as well. The small sample image here illustrates the Flint Hills IBA in Kansas and Oklahoma. An example of the large mural-style illustration of a bird habitat, Eastern Forests, is shown below.
With the turn of every page, the important information in this book is beautifully presented and illustrated. The text is informative and clear without being dry. I give The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation 5 Goldfinches out of 5.