and preserving and restoring bird habitat in the Chicago Region for more than a decade. BCN is a coalition of about 18 organizations (bird clubs, Audubon chapters, ornithological societies and conservation organizations) sharing an interest in the conservation of birds. The groups' members total more than 35,000 people living primarily in the chicago area, but also throughout Illinois, northeastern Indiana, and southern Wisconsin. BCN’s mission is the conservation of birds and the habitats they need to survive. There is no full time staff; BCN’s board is made up of volunteer representatives from the member groups who carry out the needed work.
The Bird Conservation Network is active in many ways that both directly and indirectly impact birds including: bird monitoring, public advocacy, informing government, organizing conferences, conducting research, producing info papers, reducing bird threats, promoting restoration, birding tourism resources, and protecting birds of concern.
Using scientific protocols, BCN volunteers monitor bird populations throughout the Chicago region during the breeding season and throughout the year. This data helps land managers improve habitat, helps researchers prioritize species of growing concern, and is a valuable gage for the status of our natural areas as well as the successfulness of local and regional restoration projects.
Every few years, BCN analyzes the BCN Survey database and produces updated bird population trends for bird species in the Chicago region. These trends help researchers focus in on population trends in our managed lands that may not be accurately represented by national trends and also raise awareness regarding the necessity for bird conservation in the Chicagoland area.
Working with the Habitat Project, the Bird Conservation Network promotes advocacy through projects like Audubon's Important Bird Area program. BCN also actively informs public officials on policies affecting bird conservation and habitat management.
Working with other regional, state, and national agencies, BCN helps convene conferences and presentations on habitat restoration, migrant and breeding birds, bird mortality from collisions with window glass, and others. These conferences help inform and inspire the public, volunteers, and land managers.
BCN writes research and informational papers on best practices and relevant issues such as birds and window collisions, the Lake Michigan flyway, conserving habitat for grassland birds, tree preference of foraging migratory birds, deer culling and bridge maintenance as it affects nesting birds.
Through public education, BCN helps reduce threats to birds through promotion of programs including bird collision monitoring, the Cats Indoors Campaing, and the Lights Out Chicago Program. These programs give everyone from individuals to building owners a way to make a direct impact on birds' lives.
BCN helps organize and support regional efforts for threatened and endangered birds including protecting Swainson’s Hawk populations in Kane County and working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to protect endangered Common Terns at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center.
Working with Chicago's Department Of Environment, BCN has helped develop and promote the Birding Trail of the Chicago Region and implement Chicago's Bird Agenda of 2006. BCN also created and helps maintain a calendar of Illinois birding trips and events and a website promoting birding in Illinois.
The purpose of the BCN is to advocate for and promote the perpetuation and appreciation of the native avian fauna of the Chicago region, both resident and migratory, with its associated native flora and fauna, and the habitats that support them through a coalition of birding organizations and individuals. To achieve this goal, an understanding is needed: of the habitat needs of birds during all seasons of the year; the influence human activities and natural processes have on those habitats and all the species that occur in them; and how that influence affects their avian denizens. Promotion of a sound ecological relationship between human populations and their environments, and the education and involvement of the birding community and the public at large in such efforts, is also critical.
If your club or organization is not a BCN member, please consider joining us. Organizational dues are only $75 a year, and you'll be doing the best thing you can to support conservation of bird habitat throughout our area. In addition to our work on habitat conservation, we also coordinate bird monitoring throughout the Chicagoland area. Learn More
BCN Member Organizations
The Nature Conservancy Bird Committee
What We Do
Birding Tourism Resources
Birds of Concern
BCN is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization
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