US Fish & Wildlife Service


Date of this Version



H. Berlanga, J. A. Kennedy, T. D. Rich, M. C. Arizmendi, C. J. Beardmore, P. J. Blancher, G. S. Butcher, A. R. Couturier, A. A. Dayer, D. W. Demarest, W. E. Easton, M. Gustafson, E. Iñigo-Elias, E. A. Krebs, A. O. Panjabi, V. Rodriguez Contreras, K. V. Rosenberg, J. M. Ruth, E. Santana Castellón, R. Ma. Vidal, and T. Will. 2010. Saving Our Shared Birds: Partners in Flight Tri-National Vision for Landbird Conservation. Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Ithaca, NY


Published online at


Table of Contents

Foreword....... 1

Overview....... 2–3

A Continent of Birds...... 4–5

A Continent of People Connected to Birds.... 6–7

Assessing Tri-National Conservation Priorities...8–9

Loss of Bird Diversity....10–15

Loss of Bird Abundance......16–17

Shared Birds, Shared Responsibility ....18–21

A Call to Tri-National Action.... 22-35



Landbirds are the most abundant and diverse group of birds in North America, with nearly 900 species distributed across every major terrestrial habitat. Birds are indicators of environmental health; their populations track changes in habitat, water, disease, and climate. They are providers of invaluable ecosystem services, such as pest control, seed dispersal, and pollination. As the focus of bird watching, they help generate billions of dollars for national economies. Yet, we are in danger of losing this spectacular and irreplaceable bird diversity: landbirds are experiencing significant declines, ominous threats, and shrinking habitats across a continent with growing human populations, increasing resource consumption, and changing climate.

Saving Our Shared Birds presents for the first time a comprehensive conservation assessment of landbirds in Canada, Mexico, and the continental United States. This new tri-national vision encompasses the complete range of many migratory species and highlights the vital links among migrants and highly threatened resident species in Mexico. It points to a set of continent-scale actions necessary to maintain the landbird diversity and abundance that are our shared responsibility.

This collaborative effort of Partners in Flight (PIF) is the next step in linking the countries of the Western Hemisphere to help species at risk and keep common birds common through voluntary partnerships—our mission since 1990. Saving Our Shared Birds builds upon PIF’s 2004 North American Landbird Conservation Plan, which presented science-based priorities for the conservation of 448 landbird species in Canada and the United States.

Our three nations have expressed their commitment to cooperative conservation through numerous international treaties, agreements, and programs, including formation of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) a decade ago. The NABCI partnership recognizes that effective conservation requires a concerted effort within each country, as well as a tri-national strategy to address issues throughout the full life cycles of our birds.

Today more than ever, it is urgent for the people of Canada, Mexico, and the United States to work together to keep common birds common, prevent extinction of our bird species at greatest risk, and ensure the diversity and abundance of birdlife across North America and throughout the hemisphere, far into the future. Saving Our Shared Birds shows the way forward.