Protocols for Bird-Friendly Habitat Management Certification

A system of protocols keeps grazing habitat beneficial to birds and other animals

Audubon and its partner ranchers employ a variety of tactics to manage the land upon which cows graze. Together, these tactics are what leads to Audubon's certification that certain beef products are produced with bird-friendly land-management practices

To get certification, ranchers follow a set of program standards in four areas:

Each farm or ranch must be managed for bird habitat according to a set of protocols, including general habitat protocols that apply to all sites, regional protocols, and ranch-specific management requirements. Each rancher adopts a Habitat Management Plan that is uniquely developed to address site-specific habitat goals and bird conservation opportunities. 

Livestock must be able to freely graze open grasslands. The protocols prohibit the use of antibiotics and animal byproducts, and seek to minimize grain-based feed supplementation. No feedlots are allowed.

Program participants must demonstrate a commitment to properly caring for livestock by adhering to livestock production methods that reflect best practices for animal health and welfare.  Any mistreatment of animals is not tolerated in this program.

Pesticides are restricted, and waterways are protected from contamination to ensure that ranching practices result in cleaner streams, healthier soils, more pollinators for plants, and more carbon stored in plants and soil.

To read the full Audubon conservation ranching protocol document, please click here, or click the document icon below.