7 Important Groups Devoted To Birds

Birds are fascinating creatures, and there's still so much to learn about them and their many habitats. Multiple groups exist to study and conserve avifauna, especially endangered species, around the world. This list, presented in no particular order, shares some organizations helping our feathered friends.

The #1 entry is the Raptor Education Foundation, in Brighton, Colorado. This group aims to promote environmental literacy by providing schools, corporations, conventions, and gatherings of all sizes with interactive programs featuring non-releasable raptors. REF also offers consulting services that help solve promotional and marketing challenges requiring knowledge of the natural world.

The Foundation houses a number of raptors at its facilities, including owls, hawks, falcons, and eagles. It hosts open houses throughout the year where visitors can see the birds in-person, with refreshments and door prizes for those who attend.

Coming in at #2, we have the Bedford Audubon in Katonah, New York. It manages wildlife sanctuaries as well as the Leon Levy Native Garden, which are free and open to the public. It also offers a slate of free environmental education opportunities, including customized programs for scheduled group visits.

Bedford Audubon's James Ramsay Hunt and Mary Welsh Parker Memorial Sanctuary is its largest at 338 acres, and features miles of trails that traverse diverse forest, meadow, and wetland habitats. The organization's John Bull Library, meanwhile, was officially inaugurated in 2011, and is home to the eponymous ornithologist's collection of more than 700 birding and natural history books.

For #3, we present the International Crane Foundation. This nonprofit works to conserve the titular birds and the ecosystems, watersheds, and flyways on which they depend. It provides knowledge to engage people in resolving threats to cranes and their diverse habitats.

The Crane Foundation's headquarters are in Baraboo, Wisconsin, but it maintains a regional base in China and shares program offices with partner organizations across the globe. Schools can collaborate with the Foundation to create classroom curricula, as the nonprofit has developed field trips, activity packets, and more.

Up next at #4 is Sylvan Heights Bird Park, home to more than 2,000 birds from around the world. Located in Scotland Neck, North Carolina, it seeks to advance the conservation of waterfowl and wetlands, and act as a local and international educational resource for avian biology and wetlands ecology.

The institution's grounds are designed to give visitors an up-close experience with thousands of waterfowl, parrots, toucans, flamingos, and other exotic birds. It features spacious, walk-through aviaries displaying birds from South America, North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

The #5 entry is Wiltshire Ornithological Society. This nonprofit was formed in 1974 with the mission of encouraging and pursuing the study, recording, and conservation of birds in Wiltshire, England. It promotes the conservation of tree sparrows through nestbox and feeding schemes, working closely with other organizations.

Bird conservation is an absolute priority for the Society. Wiltshire’s chalk downlands and wide-ranging grasslands provide excellent habitat for Stone- curlew, Tree Sparrow, Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer and Quail and there are significant breeding populations of these species.

In addition, the group monitors barn owl and raptor numbers and provides breeding rafts for common terns. It has published a book, Birds of Wiltshire, that offers a complete avifauna guide to the region. The text received second prize in the BTO Best Bird Book of the Year Award in 2008.

Next up, at #6, we find the National Aviary, America's only independent indoor non-profit zoo dedicated to birds. Located in Allegheny Commons Park on Pittsburgh's historic Northside, it is home to hundreds of birds representing over 150 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild.

The National Aviary’s large walk-through habitats create a unique experience for visitors. Guests can enjoy intimate, up-close interactions with free-flying birds, including opportunities to hand-feed and meet many species rarely found in zoos anywhere else in the world.

Last but not least, for #7, we present Wild Bird Trust. Founded in South Africa in 2009 by Dr. Rutledge "Steve" Boyes, its mission is to keep avifauna safe in the wild. To achieve this goal, it conducts research and provides education about birds as well as their related habitats.

The organization's Cape Parrot Project is based out of Hogsback. The aim of CPP is to conserve the endangered Cape Parrot through research on the species, community engagement, and reforestation. Meanwhile, its National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project works to explore and survey the least-known, most inaccessible parts of the Okavango River Basin.