2018 Is the Year of the Bird

Join the National Audubon Society, National Geographic, BirdLife International, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in a yearlong celebration of birds.


Help build a better world for birds by taking a simple but meaningful action each month.
Count Me In

We never need a reason to celebrate birds here at Audubon, but in 2018 we’re making an especially big deal of them. That’s because not only is it the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA)—a pivotal piece of legislation that continues to save countless birds’ lives—but birds are also facing many new and serious threats, including attacks on the MBTA itself. And so it’s with great excitement that we’ve teamed up with National Geographic, BirdLife International, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to officially make 2018 the Year of the Bird.

What exactly is Year of the Bird? Good question! Throughout the year, all of us partners, along with more than 150 other participating organizations, are celebrating birds across all of our channels—magazines, television, social media, and more. To make Year of the Bird a true success, though, we need you. Each month we’re asking people to take simple actions that will help birds, so make sure you get our monthly action newsletters by clicking the "count me in" link above. You can find out more ways to #birdyourworld over at the official Year of the Bird website, but you’ll also want to keep checking back here, at Audubon.org, to find new Year of the Bird-related stories every month. 

December's Monthly Action: Share Your Love of Birds This Holiday Season 

(To see the previous month's featured Year of the Bird action and stories, scroll down.) 

It might be hard to believe, but it's true: The Year of the Bird is almost over! For our last monthly action, we're asking all participants to help spread the joy of birds to others in their lives. After all, though the Year of the Bird might be ending, the work of helping birds and raising awareness about their troubles is never over. And so this holiday season, consider sharing your love of birds with someone else in your life. That could mean going for a bird walk together, posting some of your favorite photos online, or yes, even buying people in your life some bird-related gifts. For this last one, check out our 2018 Audubon Gift Guide and other birdy gift ideas below. And as always, be sure to visit the official Year of the Bird website to see this month's other featured posts.  

Photo: iStock

November's Monthly Action:  Capture the Beauty of Birds on Camera 

Whether you own professional gear or just like snapping shots with your smartphone, photography is a great way to further your appreciation for birds and share their beauty with the rest of the world. That's why this month we are asking you to go on assignment with National Geographic Your Shot, a community where amateur photographers can submit their photos and get expert feedback. Anyone can participate, so head on over to the official Year of the Bird page to find out more. While you're there, check out this month's featured posts from our partners. And before you head out in the field, make sure to peruse Audubon's handy tips and how-tos on bird photography below. 

October's Monthly Action: Participate in Cornell's Global Big Day 

Fall is officially here, and you know what that means: migration! (If you said pumpkin-spiced lattes, we'll give you a pass.) As in spring, billions of birds are currently on the move, but this time they are heading south to their wintering grounds. As with May's Year of the Bird action, this month were asking you to put on your community-scientist hat by participating in Cornell's Global Big Day on October 6th. On this day, you can contribute to a worldwide conservation project by logging all the birds you see in a 24-hour period. For more on how to get involved, visit Cornell's Big Day website. And before you head out for your big day or to do any fall birding this month, be sure to download our new-and-improved free Audubon bird guide app. For more identification tips, you can also see this month's featured post below, which helps you learn the fall and winter plumage of five common birds. 

September's Featured Action: Help Birds Have a Safe Migration 

Each year, billions of birds migrate north in the spring and south in the fall. Along the way, though, they now face all sorts of man-made challenges. Whether it be from endless expanses of concrete to invisible windows and confusing artificial lights, the number of migrating birds that die every year is estimated to be as many as 1 billion. But it doesn't have to be this way. Making windows bird-safe, turning off your lights, planting native plants, encouraging bird-friendly architecture in your community—these are all ways you can help birds have a safer migration. So for September, our Year of the Bird ask is to do everything you can to help birds have a safe migration this fall. You can read more about how to do this and how lights and windows pose dangers to migrating birds in our featured posts below. 

August's Featured Action: Discover Your National Parks 

417! That's how many sites across the U.S. the National Park Service manages. Collectively called our national park system, these protected places range from important historical and cultural sites to some of the country's most stunning and important habitat. And yet, many people have only visited a handful of these parks, and oftentimes they are the most famous ones: Acadia, Yellowstone, Zion, to name a few. That's why this month our Year of the Bird action is to get out there and discover your national parks—go explore new ones, or just revisit some of your favorites. Whatever you do, make this month about appreciating the incredible treasure that is our national park system. For inspiration on where to hit first, check out this month's featured post highlighting 10 surprisingly birdy parks, as well our other related stories. And be sure to give yourself plenty of time to comb through Audubon's recent and sprawling climate report on the future of birds in our national parks. For more stories or to just join the Year of the Bird, visit the official website

July's Featured Action: Take a Child into Nature 

We're smack in the middle of summer, and for many children across the country, that means one thing: no school! Unfortunately, that does not necessarily mean they will spend their free time outside, playing in sprinklers, exploring their local woods and streams, and just generally getting good and dirty. Kids are going outside less and less, and so for this month, our Year of the Bird action is to take a child into nature. Whether it's your own kid or somone else's (please ask permission first), devote some time this month to helping at least one child discover and enjoy the beauty and wonder of nature. Below you can find our featured posts for ways to get kids into birding, but also be sure to check out the official Year of the Bird website for more stories and tips from our partner organizations.