2018 marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever passed. In honor of this milestone, National Geographic, the National Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and BirdLife International will join forces with more than 100 other organizations and millions of people around the world to celebrate 2018 as the “Year of the Bird.”
This effort aims to heighten public awareness of birds because of their wonder and beauty—and because they symbolize nature’s interconnectedness and the importance of caring for our shared planet. To get started, visitors to BirdYourWorld.org will discover simple but meaningful steps that anyone can take to help birds each month and join a pledge to participate.
Through 12 months of storytelling, science research and conservation efforts, Year of the Bird will examine how our changing environment is driving dramatic losses among bird species around the globe and highlight what we can do to help bring birds back.
Participating organizations include nonprofit and conservation groups, state and federal agencies, zoos, nature centers, and ornithological societies that are working together to raise the visibility of birds and inspire action through #BirdYourWorld throughout 2018. The campaign will also utilize National Geographic’s portfolio of media platforms reaching millions of people around the world with engaging bird content that will educate, inspire and raise awareness about the challenges that birds are facing and what people can do to help.
Content and activities will include:
- Magazine Features: Twelve feature stories in National Geographic magazine throughout 2018. National Geographic Traveler magazine will also feature print and digital articles to help savvy travelers discover birds of the world.
- Books: Two new National Geographic books focused on birds: Birds of the Photo Ark, with charismatic bird portraits by Joel Sartore and evocative text by Big Year birder extraordinaire Noah Strycker, publishing March 6, 2018. And The Splendor of Birds: Art and Photography From National Geographic will release Oct. 23, 2018. The National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America published Sept. 2017.
- National Geographic Kids Content: National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America, Second Edition, will publish March 13, 2018. And Fly with Me: A Celebration of Birds Through Pictures, Poems, and Stories by Jane Yolen, Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Adam Stemple, and Jason Stemple, publishing Oct. 16, 2018. Visit natgeokids.com/year-of-the-bird/ to find out more.
- Migration Maps: A supplemental migration map in National Geographic magazine, as well as a dynamic digital map of bird migration, powered by data from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, launching in March.
- Digital and Social Media: A robust #BirdYourWorld digital campaign and special Year of the Bird offering of infographics, videos, photo galleries, species profiles, short-form articles, and a social video series that will take viewers birding with filmmaker Bertie Gregory.
- Television: Nat Geo WILD celebrates the Year of the Bird with specials “Planet of the Birds” and “Dino Bird” premiering on Friday, Jan. 19.
- Museum Exhibition: An exhibition at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C., featuring photos from iconic photographer Stephen Wilkes documenting four ancient bird migrations across the globe.
- Thought Leader Event: An event at National Geographic headquarters gathering scientists and conservationists to explore the challenges and solutions for conservation and policy, all through the lens of birds.
- Prints: Additionally, in honor of the Year of the Bird, National Geographic is offering a curated selection of prints for the home or office. Detailed artwork and stunning photography from the National Geographic archives and the National Geographic magazine is available in partnership with Art.com. The collection of framed and unframed prints represents beloved bird species around the world and makes a great gift for any bird enthusiast. Click here to see the bird prints.
- Travel: Three new birding expeditions to Central and South America led by renowned birding experts, bird-focused programming at many members of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection, and designated Year of the Bird ambassadors on select voyages aboard the National Geographic-Lindblad fleet.
- Educational Resources and Events: A number of resources for educators and family-friendly events.
- Research Grants: National Geographic Society grants building on 130 years of grantmaking history that advance scientific understanding and fill critical knowledge gaps on species, including birds.
- Monthly featured content: Showcasing inspiring work by BirdLife International, Audubon and Cornell Lab of Ornithology