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The U.S. National Park System provides habitat critical to many species of migratory birds, from raptors and shorebirds to songbirds. Continental and local declines in these bird populations have led to a concern for their future. Because these species use parks on a seasonal basis, their protection cannot be assured without conservation efforts occurring in the habitats the birds use throughout the year. This requires cooperative and coordinated efforts between the United States and Latin America, such as the Park Flight Program, to protect breeding, migration, and wintering habitats, as well as a proactive approach to migratory bird conservation within the National Park Service (NPS).
"Hemispheric solidarity is new among statesmen, but not among the feathered
navies of the sky."
—Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
The Park Flight Program works to protect shared migratory bird species and their habitats in both U.S. and Latin American national parks and protected areas through developing bird conservation and education projects and creating opportunities for technical exchange and cooperation. Park Flight is a partnership between NPS, the National Park Foundation, American Airlines, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the U.S. Agency for International Development and the University of Arizona. The program is made possible through the generous support of American Airlines, the NPS Natural Resource Challenge, and the Park Flight partners. Technical direction is provided through the University of Arizona Desert Southwest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit and the NPS Biological Resource Management Division.
The assistance provided to U.S. National Parks and Latin American parks and protected areas is integrated and projects focus on two areas relating to migratory birds: 1) species monitoring, protection, and management; and 2) park interpretation, environmental education, and outreach. Another component is technical assistance, including training workshops, personnel exchanges, and participation of Latin American professionals in U.S. National Parks through the NPS Office of International Affairs Volunteers in Parks Program.
The NPS migratory bird conservation efforts will include involvement in Partners in Flight activities, such as International Migratory Bird Day, and coordination with the North American Bird Conservation Initiative and other national and international bird conservation initiatives. The program will focus on migratory bird conservation efforts in U.S. National Parks, and enhance collaboration with other agencies and organizations on migratory bird conservation efforts, provide information regarding compliance with migratory bird legislation, and participate in bird conservation partnerships.
The Park Flight Program is the recipient of the NPS Director's Award as part of the 2002 National Park Partnership Awards and has generated more than $1.5 million towards the conservation of migratory birds.
U.S. Park Flight Projects
- Partners in Protection: A Cooperative Approach to Conserving Migratory Birds — Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
- Assess Black Swift Breeding Habitat in North Cascades and Teach about Neotropical Migratory Birds — North Cascades National Park Service Complex
- Continue to Assess Neotropical Birds and Provide Educational Park Field Trips — Bandelier National Monument and Pecos National Historical Park
- Preserving Oases Along the Flyway: Critical Stopover Habitat in New Jersey for Migrating Songbirds - Phase II — New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route
- Assessing Quality of Grassland and Shrubland Habitats for Birds — Cuyahoga Valley National Park
- Conduct an Assessment of Cerulean Warblers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Provide Public Education —Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Conservation of Neotropical Migratory Birds in Riparian Habitat — Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes National Seashore
- Assess Landbird Species Diversity, Density and Habitat within Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve — Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve
Latin American Park Flight Projects
- Environmental Interpretation and Promotion of Tourism Services for the Sustainability of the Chocoyero-El Brujo Nature Reserve — Nicaragua
- Educational School Trips on Bird Conservation in Cayala Ecological Park — Guatemala
- Strengthening Bird Conservation in Eastern El Salvador — El Salvador
- Training Honduran Biologists and Park Guards in Field Techniques for Bird Studies — Honduras
- Ecological Education about Migratory and Resident Birds in Ajusco Medio - Phase II — Mexico
- Canal to Canal: Panama-Ohio Migratory Bird Trail — Panama
- Strengthening Provincial and National Park Guard Knowledge on Migratory Bird Monitoring and Conservation — Argentina
For more information on the Park Flight Program and NPS Migratory Bird Conservation Program, contact the Biological Resource Management Division, Natural Resource Stewardship and Science Directorate, 970-225-3592.
Last Updated: June 28, 2011