Migratory Bird Initiative

Using the best available migration science to protect birds and the places they need across their full annual life cycles.

The mission of the Migratory Bird Initiative is to secure the future of migratory birds in the Western Hemisphere by reducing direct threats and protecting key places across the Americas in coordination with science, conservation and policy partners.

The Initiative brings together the latest spatial information on species distributions and movements across their annual cycles to identify priority areas for 458 species of migratory birds that regularly occur in the United States and Canada. We will use this information to define where and how to focus Audubon’s conservation investments in order to protect, restore and manage key habitat and also mitigate threats along full migratory pathways for these species.

Audubon expects to achieve these goals by 1) consolidating and elevating the best-available migration science, filling research gaps and identifying real-time threats throughout annual cycle; 2) strengthening connections and cooperation among key stakeholders such as government agencies, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions and the Audubon network, and 3) informing policy advocacy at the local, state and federal level to drive science-based conservation.

Migratory birds face threats during all stages of the annual cycle, and these threats are accelerating. Fortunately, scientific data, particularly during migration, are accumulating; however, we need to act swiftly and collectively to protect birds and the places they need before the opportunities to do so disappear. Partnerships will be central to the success of the Migratory Bird Initiative, and Audubon looks forward to building and strengthening relationships with other key research and conservation organizations.

If you are a researcher and would like to contribute data to Audubon's Migratory Bird Initiative, please fill out this Data Sharing Agreement. If you would like to contact us for more information, please email migratorybirds@audubon.org

The Bird Migration Explorer is your guide to the heroic annual journeys made by over 450 bird species, and the challenges they face along the way.

Learn more about a species, the migratory birds at a specific location, or a conservation challenge birds face.

Check out the Bird Migration Explorer
Our Migratory Bird Initiative Staff

Chad Wilsey

Vice President and Chief Scientist

Jill Deppe

Jill Deppe

Senior Director, Migratory Bird Initiative

Melanie Smith

Melanie A. Smith

Director, Digital Science & Data Products

Nat Seavy

Nat Seavy

Director of Migration Science, Migratory Bird Initiative, National Audubon Society

Erika Knight

Erika Knight

GIS and Data Science Specialist

Chad Witko

Chad Witko

Senior Coordinator, Avian Biology

Bill DeLuca

William DeLuca

Senior Manager, Migration Ecology

Nicolas Gonzalez

Senior Communications Manager, Migration Science

Migratory Bird News

Remember that Audubon depends on your support to do the conservation work that we do.
Melanie Smith and a black dog sit on a rock looking out over a lush green forest and distant, snow-capped mountains.
Audubon Spotlight: Melanie Smith Finds Inspiration in the Powerful Force of Nature
September 15, 2022 — An early trip to Alaska set the course of her life, but these days Smith has set her sights on migratory birds across the hemisphere.
Wood Stork.
The Weird and Wild Migration of the Wood Stork Raises Many Questions
September 15, 2022 — This unmistakable emblem of the Everglades and other Southern wetlands may be changing its migratory behavior in response to human impacts on the ecosystem.
A large brown hawk with a large pointed beak and a tracking device affixed to its back is held by two people.
To Protect Broad-winged Hawks, We First Need to Know Where They Migrate
September 07, 2022 — Researchers Laurie Goodrich and Rebecca McCabe are demystifying the long journeys of these migratory raptors to better inform conservation efforts.
How Birds Canada Plays An Important Role In Understanding Wildlife Movements
September 06, 2022 — The organization's ever-growing Motus Wildlife Tracking System provides key data for migratory bird conservation.
The Flammulated Owl Is a Small Raptor Facing Big Threats
August 22, 2022 — Scott Yanco’s research on the migration and ecology of this reclusive owl can give the bird a fighting chance.
Finding Wisdom in A Century’s Worth of Bird Banding Records
August 12, 2022 — The U.S. Geological Survey's Bird Banding Lab "puts a ring on it" and reveals the wonders of birds migration.
Esri Puts Audubon's Migratory Bird Initiative on the Map
August 12, 2022 — By providing and advancing the technology behind increasingly accurate maps, the GIS giant plays an integral role in effective nature conservation.
Movebank, Repository for Wildlife Migration Data, Brings the Scientific Community Together
August 11, 2022 — As the body of migration research grows exponentially, providing access to data and connecting scientists allow for more collaboration and public engagement.
Meet Bird Conservancy of the Rockies, the Scorekeepers of North America's Birds
August 09, 2022 — Maintaining reliable bird population data makes bird conservation more effective.
Audubon Scientists Develop New Method to Improve Mapping of Bird Migrations
June 01, 2022 — Four dozen co-authors from leading bird and wildlife organizations use novel approach to better identify the places migratory birds need along their perilous journeys.
Featured Migratory Birds in Audubon Field Guide
American White Pelican
! Priority Bird
Bald Eagle
Hawks and Eagles
Blackpoll Warbler
Wood Warblers
! Priority Bird
Black Skimmer
Gulls and Terns
Broad-winged Hawk
Hawks and Eagles
Eared Grebe
Golden Eagle
Hawks and Eagles
! Priority Bird
Long-billed Curlew
Painted Bunting
Cardinals, Grosbeaks and Buntings
Rufous Hummingbird
! Priority Bird
Wood Thrush