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American Bird Conservancy

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If you have ever asked me about bird conservation groups, you will have certainly heard me sing the praises of the American Bird Conservancy (www.abc.org). It has been several years since I featured them in this corner, so I thought I would catch you up on what they have been up to.

Founded in 1994, George Fenwick has been ABC’s President and CEO from day 1.George had spent 15 years with The Nature Conservancy in various capacities, including their Director of Science. George told me, at our first meeting in 1998, that his goal with this small upstart conservation group was to make the greatest impact with the smallest staff (least bureaucracy) as possible.

Their successes have been numerous. For a lot more information than I can write here, visit their website, www.abc.org. From their earliest programs, like Cats Indoors (a pro-cat educational program that helps birds and cats) to some of their more recent land acquisitions, protecting habitat here and around the world, I think you will be impressed.

One of their lists that they place a great deal of their energy and dollars into is the U. S. Watchlist of Birds of Conservation Concern. Take a few minutes to glance through this list. You may be surprised by some of the birds on the list.

Like everyone featured in this column, ABC is a private, nonprofit that counts on donations to support all that they do. Please consider sending something to help them out.

By Mark McKellar

Summer 2011

(Original Article)

During my stint as Director of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, I had the good fortune to make friends with a guy who was just starting up a new bird conservation group. George Fenwick had been the national director of science for The Nature Conservancy but grew tired of being part of a huge organization. George wanted to see if he could create a small but effective organization dedicated to bird conservation.

One of the biggest problems that comes with being small in the nonprofit world is that others often get credit for your work. The American Bird Conservancy has done many good things for birds, including taking the lead on getting bird killing pesticides taken off the market in this country as well as in South America. Unfortunately, when people hear of good things being done for birds, they automatically think of the Audubon Society.

ABC had done work on tower kills, forest fragmentation, Important Bird Areas and others but one of my favorite programs of theirs is called “Cats Indoors”. If you have heard me talk about house cats before, you know I cite this program often. It is not an anti-cat program. In fact it is very much a pro-cat program who’s goal is to educate cat owners about the importance of keeping their pets indoors.

ABC is very much about bringing groups together to resolve problems. They do this in a very efficient and effective way and I applaud their efforts. Please visit their website atwww.abcbirds.org or come by the store and pick up a free copy of their most recent magazine. Consider supporting them. They need it as well as the birds.

By Mark McKellar