Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Songbirds, Shorebirds and Other Migratory Birds to Benefit from $18 Million in Funding Throughout the Americas
Grants and Matching Contributions Will Benefit Hundreds of Bird Species Across Sixteen Countries

August 8, 2018


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

Each spring, the air fills with the calls of millions of migratory birds making their annual journeys from wintering grounds in the Southern Hemisphere to breeding grounds in North America. Yet populations of many birds are in decline as a result of habitat loss and degradation. Thanks to the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (NMBCA) grants program, however, these long distance travelers will benefit from $18 million in federal and matching funds.

The NMBCA provides critical funding each year for bird conservation and research throughout the Western Hemisphere and is the only source of federal funding solely dedicated to the conservation of our shared migratory bird heritage. This year, more than $3.8 million in federal funds will be matched by more than $14.2 million in partner contributions going to 29 collaborative conservation projects in 16 countries across the Americas.

“Birds add billions of dollars to the economy each year by controlling crop pests, pollinating plants and dispersing seeds. Our national passion for birdwatching adds billions more through our purchases of bird food, binoculars and travel to see our favorite birds,” said Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan. “These projects will not only have a positive impact in local communities, but will ensure these birds come back to us year after year, helping keep our agricultural and recreational economies strong.”

The NMBCA grants will fund projects to conserve migratory bird habitat, engage local communities in bird habitat protection and strengthen international relations, while raising awareness of the importance of bird conservation.

There are 386 species of neotropical migratory birds that migrate to and from the United States each year, including songbirds, shorebirds and birds of prey. In addition to their role as pollinators, seed dispersers and pest controllers, they also provide early warnings of environmental contamination.

The NMBCA program is specifically designed to send at least 75% of its funding to projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, where habitat loss and other threats to migratory birds that spend part of their lives in the United States are significant and conservation funding is scarce. Because the program works throughout the Western Hemisphere, it is able to support the full life-cycle needs of the birds. For instance, the NMBCA funds work for Canada warbler and wood thrush on their breeding grounds as well as key stopover and wintering sites in Central America and South America.

Since 2002, the NMBCA has provided more than $66 million in grants to support 570 projects in 36 countries. These projects have positively affected more than 4.5 million acres of bird habitat and spurred partnerships on multiple levels contributing an additional $250 million. This year’s project highlights include:

Saving the Golden-cheeked Warbler Wintering Habitat
This project will implement a conservation plan for the endangered golden-cheeked warbler through the restoration of pine-oak forest in Honduras, sustainable forest management in Mexico, and through conducting field surveys on wintering habitat.

Steele Family Ltd. Partnership Acquisition Project
The Steele Family Limited Partnership acquisition will preserve and buffer tallgrass prairie that is important breeding and migration habitat in the Little Sioux River watershed of northwest Iowa. It will ultimately expand the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ 1,834-acre Waterman Prairie Wildlife Management Area.

Conserving Bicknell's Thrush on Canadian Breeding Grounds
The grantees will partner with timber companies and management agencies to implement best practices to reduce mortality and habitat loss; conduct research to improve long-term protection of Bicknell’s thrush; and continue regional and range-wide surveys to evaluate the success of conservation actions over the medium- and long-term.

For more information on the 2018 funded projects and previous years, please visit:

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