North American Bird Conservation Initiative

Official title: North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI)

Subject category:
Biodiversity / Ecosystems
Type of agreement / instrument:
Cooperative Arrangement
  • Signed by Canada: June 22, 2005
  • In force in Canada: June 22, 2005
  • In force internationally: June 22, 2005
Lead & partner departments:
Environment and Climate Change Canada, United States Department of the Interior, Mexican Secretaria de Media Ambiente y Recursos Naturales
Provincial/Territorial Wildlife Directors, Key Environmental Non-government organizations and National Industry Associations 
For further information:
Web links:
ECCC Inquiry Centre
Compendium edition:
July 2022
Reference #:

Plain language summary

The North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) in Canada is a partnership between Environment and Climate Change Canada, provincial and territorial wildlife directors, key environmental non-government organizations and national industry associations to actively coordinate the implementation of bird conservation throughout North America along with our American and Mexican NABCI partnerships.

NABCI’s Vision for Bird Conservation for the Next Century is that bird populations and ecosystems are healthy throughout the Western Hemisphere. NABCI-Canada strives to ensure that populations and habitats of North America’s birds are protected, restored and enhanced through coordinated efforts at international, national, regional and local levels, guided by sound science and effective management. As such, NABCI-Canada has elaborated priorities under four key roles: coordination, communication, track bird conservation and influence policy.


NABCI’s objective is to facilitate the conservation of North American Birds and their habitats.

Key elements

NABCI aims to ensure that populations and habitats of North America’s birds are protected, restored and enhanced through coordinated efforts at international, national, regional and local levels guided by sound science and effective management. It is a forum that brings together governments, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, and the citizens of Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

NABCI is designed to increase the effectiveness of existing and new initiatives through:

  • Effective coordination;
  • Building on existing regional partnerships; and
  • Fostering greater cooperation among the nations and the peoples of the continent.

Expected results

NABCI aims to deliver regionally-based, biologically-driven, landscape-oriented partnerships that deliver support simultaneous, on-the-ground delivery of conservation for all birds, through its four roles that were renewed and identified in 2017. The NABCI-Canada roles are:

Coordinate, which will enable NABCI-Canada to:

  • Collaborate with habitat conservation partnerships (such as the Habitat and Species Joint Ventures) for effective all-bird conservation;
  • Ensure dynamic partnerships actively implementing bird conservation at multiple scales across Canada.

Communicate, which will enable NABCI-Canada to:

  • Coordinate the periodic production of the State of the Birds reports (Canada and North America);
  • Using various communications platforms, showcase success stories, best practices and interesting pilot projects that demonstrate progress especially for bird groups at high risk (grassland birds, shorebirds, seabirds and aerial insectivores).

Track Bird Conservation, which will enable NABCI-Canada to:

  • Advocate for a national habitat monitoring system to support adaptive management of bird conservation;
  • Coordinate the development of a comprehensive tracking system of bird conservation action in Canada that supports progress reporting and adaptive management.

Influence Policy, which will enable NABCI-Canada to:

  • Assist cooperation on migratory bird conservation across the Western Hemisphere through existing, or by creating new, international agreements;
  • Successfully influence invasive species policies and best practices for wetlands, grasslands and islands/seabirds.

Canada’s involvement

Through its participation in NABCI, Canada demonstrates its commitment to addressing the conservation issues faced by migratory birds and to maximizing the effectiveness of actions by various stakeholders. Bird conservation actions can best be coordinated through the integration of activities from various jurisdictional levels as well as those of other sectors such as watershed management and sustainable development projects. In this manner, bird conservation benefits from the institutional and financial resources and the political support of related efforts.

Results / progress


In October 2014, Environment and Climate Change Canada completed 25 required Bird Conservation Regions (BCR) Strategies which will be used as the biological basis to develop conservation measures in support of the management of migratory bird populations.

Environment and Climate Change Canada released the Avian Monitoring Review final report (June 2012) which outlines a national framework for monitoring birds.

Environment and Climate Change Canada Bird Technical Committees have identified science priorities and work is underway to address them as resources allow.

The 2010 report “Saving our shared birds: Partners in Flight Tri-national Vision for Landbird Conservation” identifies priority landbird areas for birds shared by Canada, US and Mexico; work to extend this through Central America began in 2014; from 2014 to 2016, all Central American countries participated in assessing the conservation vulnerability of nearly 1,200 bird species; through the Southern Cone Grassland Alliance, annual shorebird surveys have been conducted in order to understand the habitat requirements of focal species and their relationship with land use practices on grasslands of the Southern Cone. A Memorandum of Understanding for the Southern Cone Grasslands was signed in 2007.

In 2016, Partners in Flight released an updated Landbird Conservation Plan, a guide to landbird conservation in the US and Canada for the next ten years. It includes new assessments and tools as well as recommendations to address continental threats, reverse long-term population declines, and prevent landbirds from becoming at risk.

In 2017, NABCI-Canada, U.S. NABCI and NABCI-Mexico adopted a Vision for Bird Conservation for the Next Century after celebrating the Migratory Birds Convention’s 100-year anniversary. During the same year, NABCI-Canada established its four roles: coordination, communication, influence policy and track bird conservation. Since then, they’ve finalized a work plan to advance bird conservation as a partnership.

Canada is an active participant of the Migratory Birds Working Table of the Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management.

NABCI-Canada, with leadership from Environment and Climate Change Canada and others, published a new State of Canada's Birds report in 2019, which draws on almost 50 years of data to create a picture of the current health of Canada's birds. The report discusses the strong influence of human activity on bird populations as well as the need for urgent action for bird conservation. It also highlights success stories to show that conservation works when the problems are known and actions are taken together.


The publication of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCR) Strategies assists Environment and Climate Change Canada in fulfilling its mandate to manage migratory bird populations. The Strategies deliver a clear set of conservation objectives for birds of conservation concern across the country. Conservation priorities and recommended actions from the Strategies will be used to develop conservation measures that support populations of migratory (and other) birds.

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