Birds of a feather…

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Published on: Aug. 2, 2006

Last revision: Nov. 29, 2010

“Birds of a feather flock together,” goes the old saying. Birds of the same species may congregate for migration, feeding and protection from predators. Just as often, birds of different species, but with common interests, are found together in foraging flocks, or during migration, or to provide multiple eyes to scan for predators. The behavior of coming together to satisfy common interests also applies to organizations as they “flock together” to address joint concerns and opportunities.

The Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative (MoBCI) is an example of organizational flocking behavior. MoBCI was formed in 2003 as a partnership among organizations that care about birds and those that have legal responsibilities for bird conservation. It is an organization made up of organizations; at last count, 39 groups were committed to the partnership. MoBCI includes groups as diverse as the Audubon Society of Missouri, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Missouri Prairie Foundation and Ducks Unlimited.

MoBCI’s purpose is to conserve, restore and protect bird populations. Member organizations realize their interests in birds are varied, but know that these diverse interests can be channeled into a strong voice for action on behalf of birds and their habitats. Much more can be accomplished if they jointly pursue common goals. The communication among these groups also promotes appreciation of each organization’s particular interests in birds.

MoBCI is Missouri’s state-level partnership of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI). Like the NABCI, the Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative is about conserving birds across geopolitical boundaries, across taxonomic groups and across landscapes. Efforts are guided by key bird conservation plans, including the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, the Partners in Flight effort, North American Waterbird Conservation Plan, U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan, Northern Bobwhite Conservation Initiative and others.

Partnerships pay off

Partnerships are only as good as the dividends they yield, so what exactly has MoBCI achieved? Plenty!

Since 2003, partners have sponsored the Missouri Bird Conservation Conference each August as a forum for communication among groups and a springboard for conservation action. Keynote speakers have challenged participants’ thinking and their approaches to bird habitat conservation, while project leaders have reported on conservation project successes. The 2006 MoBCI Conference will be held August 18–19, at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia. Details are available from the MoBCI Web site at

The MoBCI Web site and newsletter promote communication on bird habitat topics. Also, a member and project directory was developed to encourage dialogue across organizational boundaries

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