The Atlantic Northern Forest of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and New York provide breeding habitat to dozens of bird species like the Black-throated Blue Warbler, Canada Warbler, Wood Thrush and the Bicknell's Thrush. These species and dozens more have in some cases 90% of their global population breeding in this region. Many of these birds are seeing long-term declines that, like the proverbial "canary in the coal mine," may be indicating larger ecosystem problems.
The North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) defines birds like these as responsibility birds. A responsibility bird has a high proportion of its global population breeding in the region, and therefore species conservation efforts should be focused in this area. The concept is simple. Rather than wait for a bird species to become vulnerable and end up on a threatened or endangered species list, we can and should take action to conserve birds in the core of their population range. The advantage to this approach is that low-cost stewardship activities, education and monitoring can help maintain or increase the populations of these birds.
Audubon Vermont's Forest Bird Initiative is integrating science, education, public policy and forest management expertise to conserve forests within Vermont that are important to birds, by identifying, monitoring and stewarding a network of forest Important Bird Areas (IBA) that support a significant number of breeding forest birds to maintain viable populations of responsibility bird species. Vermont's Forests don't end at our border and the birds they support migrate thousands of miles each year. Consequently our Forest Bird Initiative is working with the National Audubon Society's science and policy programs and our local chapters. In addition, we are creating partnerships with Maine Audubon, New Hampshire Audubon and Audubon New York to develop regional conservation strategies, such as the Atlantic Flyway Initiative, that will benefit our neo-tropical migratory birds.