Environment for the Americas is the recipient of a 2016 Mindful Birding Award for its efforts to promote ethical birding guidelines and bird conservation through its popular International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) program.
IMBD began in the early 1990s as the brainchild of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Since the initial celebration was held in Washington D.C. in 1993, this educational initiative about migratory birds and their conservation has grown into a flagship program, involving over 700 local events throughout the Western Hemisphere from Argentina to Canada and including the Caribbean.
This year, Environment for the Americas and IMBD have adopted the Mindful Birding List of Ethical Birding Guidelines—a code of birding ethics marked by a high degree of clarity, specificity, and restraint—as a way to provide guidance to the hundreds of local “Bird Day” events on how birders can achieve safe and gratifying birdwatching experiences without altering the ability of birds to behave naturally. Importantly, the ethical code identifies “support conservation” as a behavior shared by ethical birders.
IMBD events offer a variety of birdwatching field trips and educational activities that connect people to nature through the splendor of migratory birds. By providing guidance on ethical birding and nature conservation, IMBD is serving as a model for other birding events while helping attendees become even stronger messengers for and supporters of bird conservation.
This year's IMBD conservation theme focuses on how birds have inspired many of the most significant conservation actions in the Americas, including the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty one hundred years ago. IMBD events in the USA and Canada are typically held on the second Saturday in May while events in Latin America and the Caribbean tend to be held on the second Saturday in October. However, individual event dates may vary to better coincide with optimal times for viewing migratory birds. To learn more about International Migratory Bird Day, visit www.migratorybirdday.org.
Mindful Birding is a charitable project of the Morrissey Family Foundation that presents ethical birding guidelines from around the world, and offers awards to birding festivals and events that demonstrate improved or superior ethics. The project has three goals: (1) increase awareness among birders of ethical birding guidelines, (2) increase the conservation contributions from America's birders, and (3) encourage a practice of mindfulness among birders.