About Us

The Western Hummingbird Partnership (WHP) is a developing network of partners collaborating to build an effective and sustainable hummingbird conservation program through science-based monitoring, research, habitat restoration/enhancement, and education/outreach efforts. WHP goals are to support projects, develop programs, and build partnerships that investigate what hummingbirds need to survive, successfully reproduce, and maintain thriving populations; and then to inform land managers, policy makers, and the public so habitats can be managed in ways that help hummingbirds and their communities thrive. In addition to directly influencing the conservation of hummingbirds and their habitats, the WHP can also contribute to an agency’s ability to meet their greater goals/priorities for conservation of ecosystems in general.

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Why Hummingbirds?

There are indications that at least some hummingbird populations are declining. Partners in Flight (PIF) has identified three of the 13 neotropical migrants that breed in the USA and Canada and over-winter in Mexico as Watch List Species—Costa’s (Calypte costae), Calliope (Stellula calliope), and Rufous (Selasphorus rufus)—and a fourth—Lucifer (Calothorax lucifer)—as a Stewardship Species (Rich et al 2004). Based upon data from the Breeding Bird Survey since the mid-1960s, Rufous Hummingbird has an estimated 63% population loss and is considered a common species in steep decline by both PIF (Berlanga et al. 2010) and Audubon (National Audubon 2008). The USFWS 2008 Birds of Conservation Concern also listed Costa’s, Calliope, Lucifer, and Rufous as well as Allen’s (Selasphorus sasin), Blue-throated (Lampornis clemenciae), and Buff-bellied (Amazilia yucatanensis); seven species in total nationally. In the recently released PIF Tri-national Vision, eight additional Mexican species are identified as species of high conservation concern in North America (Berlanga et al. 2010). They are Shortcrested Coquette (Lophornis brachylophus), Mexican Woodnymph (Thalurania ridgwayi), Blue-capped Hummingbird (Eupherusa cyanophrys), White-tailed Hummingbird (Eupherusa poliocerca), Mexican Sheartail (Doricha eliza), Emerald-chinned Hummingbird (Abeillia abeillei), Garnet-throated Hummingbird (Lamprolaima rhami), and Wine-throated Hummingbird (Atthis ellioti).

In PIF’s Tri-national Vision, the most steeply declining species in temperate forests are birds dependent on disturbed and early successional habitat. Managing a mosaic of age classes of forests, as well as maintaining natural disturbance regimes such as fire, will be necessary to reverse declines of many forest birds (Berlanga et al. 2010). Since hummingbirds depend upon a variety of age classes of forests for nesting and foraging, addressing their conservation needs could provide land managers with a way to develop the needed mosaics of forest age classes and do this with the valuable support of a diversity of conservation professionals and volunteers. Thus, the WHP can also contribute to an agency’s, a land manager’s, and/or a landowner’s ability to meet their greater goals/priorities for conservation of ecosystems in general.

History

Despite their diversity and extreme popularity with humans, hummingbirds have received relatively little attention from a conservation standpoint. Recent evidence from the Breeding Bird Survey and other sources suggest worrisome population declines in some hummingbird species that breed in the western United States and Canada and migrate south to winter in Mexico and beyond. For these, plus many additional North American species restricted to Mexico, scientists do not have sufficient information to determine the causes of observed declines, assess population trends, or provide a full understanding of their ranges, movements, and natural histories.

Since most North American hummingbirds live in and rely on forests, the United States Forest Service (USFS) is an important partner for hummingbird conservation. The mission of the USFS is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The USFS currently manages resources on 191 million acres throughout the USA, but relies heavily on lands under other ownerships to support conservation of shared species, including migratory birds.

Within the National Forests, conservation of migratory birds focuses on providing a diversity of habitat conditions at multiple spatial scales and ensuring that bird conservation is addressed when planning for land management activities. USFS International Programs provides assistance in protection and sound management of the world’s resources under the International Forestry Cooperation Act of 1990 (PL 101-513 Title VI; 6 U.S.C.4501-4505, November 5, 1990, as amended 1992 and 1994). Specifically, the Wings Across the Americas Program (WATA) represents an integrated and collaborative approach to bird, bat, butterfly, and dragonfly conservation internationally and across all USFS program areas. Concern for the health and sustainability of hummingbirds prompted WATA to approach the USFS Pacific Southwest Region (R5) for initiation of an international effort to address this concern. Based on partner recommendations and WATA funding, R5 partnered with the Hummingbird Monitoring Network (HMN) to develop the Western Hummingbird Project, which is now the Western Hummingbird Partnership (WHP).

In April 2009, scientists, land managers, and conservationists from Mexico, the United States, and Canada came together for a multi-day workshop in Tucson, Arizona, funded by USFS International Programs and HMN, to discuss the conservation needs of North American hummingbirds. This first major meeting of the Western Hummingbird Partnership included 82 representatives from 34 diverse institutions that included government agencies, non-profit conservation organizations, universities, and individuals. The workshop goals were to: create a common understanding about the state of knowledge and conservation of hummingbirds; identify gaps in our knowledge; and develop recommendations for key actions and projects that will best use the available resources to advance hummingbird conservation. The workshop culminated with a partner meeting at El Coronado Ranch in the Chiricahua Mountains where conclusions and recommendations were made by the group. The information generated at the April 2009 Workshop was used to create a Western Hummingbird Partnership Action Plan and a variety of projects and activities promoting hummingbird conservation already underway became high priority action items for WHP.

Environment for the Americas (EFTA), a non-profit organization that works to promote bird conservation across the Western Hemisphere, joined WHP in 2006. Because of the organization’s work across borders and experience managing collaboration, EFTA began coordinating WHP in 2015.

Partners are key to the success of WHP. The participation of organizations, both federal and non-federal, contributes expertise from biologists, educators, and researchers who inform the activities of WHP. Long-term partners include Klamath Bird Observatory, Point Blue Conservation Science, and the University of Guadalajara. U.S. Forest Service International Programs has provided essential financial support, expertise, and participation.

The conservation programs developed will include science-based monitoring, research, habitat restoration/enhancement, and education/outreach, including a strong integration with citizen scientists, with the mission of working together to maintain thriving hummingbird populations and their habitats. The focus on hummingbirds, a particularly charismatic group of species, will contribute to the conservation of important habitats and can serve as an indicator of the impacts of a changing climate on wildlife. With clearly defined partners and focus, the WHP has the potential to have far-reaching conservation impacts.

Partners

Environment for the Americas (EFTA)

Environment for the Americas (EFTA) coordinates the Western Hummingbird Partnership. Environment for the Americas was created as a result of World Migratory Bird Day’s success. Created in 1993, the celebration has grown to become much more than a one day event. Over 700 events are now hosted from South America to Canada, materials are available year-round, and other programs have been developed to increase bird conservation education.

Klamath Bird Observatory

Klamath Bird Observatory is a scientific non-profit organization that achieves bird conservation in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the migratory ranges of the birds of our region. We developed our award-winning conservation model in the ruggedly beautiful and wildlife-rich Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion of southern Oregon and northern California, and we now apply this model more broadly to care for our shared birds throughout their annual cycles. Emphasizing high caliber science and the role of birds as indicators of the health of the land, we specialize in cost-effective bird monitoring and research projects that improve natural resource management. Also, recognizing that conservation occurs across many fronts, we nurture a conservation ethic in our communities through our outreach and educational programs. We owe our success to committed donors, volunteers, staff, and conservation partners who demonstrate that each of us can contribute to a legacy of abundant bird populations and healthy land, air, and water.

Point Blue Conservation Science

Point Blue Conservation Science (formerly PRBO) advances conservation through scientific research on birds and ecosystems. Point Blue is a rapidly growing, non-profit organization with expertise in avian ecology, population biology, spatial ecology, ecosystem science, ecological modeling, conservation applications (including endangered species recovery, land and ocean management, ecological restoration, inventory and monitoring, and policy), and public education. Point Blue plays a lead role regionally, nationally, and internationally in applying science to address critical conservation issues. Point Blue will focus its work over the next 5-10 years on the effects of environmental change (e.g., climate change, habitat change, food-web change) on birds and ecosystems, using long-term data, quantitative analysis, and modeling to develop science-based solutions to address urgent environmental challenges.

The US Forest Service

The US Forest Service — National Forest System, State & Private Forestry, Research & Development and International Programs — are working together and with a wide range of partners across landscapes here in the United States and overseas to conserve birds, bats and butterflies as well as their habitats.

BLM

The BLM manages one in every 10 acres of land in the United States, and approximately 30 percent of the Nation’s minerals. These lands and minerals are found in every state in the country and encompass forests, mountains, rangelands, arctic tundra, and deserts. Their mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service works to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, and their habitats for the continued benefit of people. There are more than 560 National Wildlife Refuges, 70 national fish hatcheries, and numerous regional and field offices working on conservation projects across the United States.

environmental and climate change canada

ECCC informs Canadians about protecting and conserving our natural heritage, and ensuring a clean, safe and sustainable environment for present and future generations.

Meet the Committee

Susan Bonfield

Susan Bonfield
Executive Director
Environment for the Americas

Susan is the founder of Environment for the Americas. She has a PhD in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources from Colorado State University. Susan has over 30 years of experience managing bird research, conservation education programs, and international partnerships across the Western Hemisphere and Europe. Susan works to broaden engagement with conservation and advocates for diversity and collaboration across borders in conserving shared birds.

Vicki M. Finn
Deputy Assistant Regional Director for Science Applications
Pacific Region of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Vicki serves as her agency's liaison to the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agency (WAFWA)'s Western Monarch and Native Insect Pollinator Working Group. Focusing on hummingbirds and aerial insectivores, Vicki collaborates with the Migratory Bird Program on their 3 Billion Birds Lost Initiative.

Elizabeth Lebow
Program Coordinator
U.S. Forest Service International Programs

Beth manages migratory species and invasive species projects with domestic and international partners focused on forest and biodiversity conservation. Prior to joining the Forest Service in 2009, Beth served as a community natural resource management volunteer with the Peace Corps in the Philippines. She received a PhD in Ecology from University of Georgia in 2005, and bachelor’s degrees in Ecology and Women’s Studies also from UGA.

Brian Logan
National Wildlife Program Manager
U.S. Forest Service

Brian has worked for the US Forest Service as a wildlife biologist for more than 20 years studying birds throughout the western US and Alaska. In his current position, he helps achieve the agency's wildlife program goals to ensure wildlife priorities and manage wildlife habitat resources from a healthy ecosystem perspective. Brian also serves as a principal wildlife advisor and subject matter expert to the National Forests and Grasslands, as well as to senior management officials. Brian earned a BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from the University of Arizona and a MS from the University of Montana.

Ana Gonzales-Prieto
Protected Areas Senior Analyst
Environment and Climate Change Canada

Ana integrates behavioral and demographic field data with tracking techniques; providing foundational scientific information needed to support international and local conservation strategies for Neotropical migrants of conservation concern. Her research experience spans from her home country, Colombia to North America during the full annual cycle of migratory birds. Ana obtained a PhD and MS degree from the University of Saskatchewan and has postdoctoral fellowships from Simon Fraser University, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Research Center, and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Jamie Ratliff

Jamie Ratliff
Wildlife Biologist - USFS, Region 6 Avian Conservation Center of Excellence

Jamie began her career in avian conservation with a master’s research project that examined the habitat use and correlates of survival in a reintroduced population of Mountain Quail. She went on to pursue a career as a wildlife biologist for the Forest Service where she currently serves as the Region 6 representative to the Western Working Group of Partners in Flight and the Western Hummingbird Partnership. She is also responsible for the delivery, training, and incorporation of recent scientific information and decision support tools into Forest Service planning efforts within Oregon and Washington.

Susan Stine
Program Specialist
U.S. Forest Service International Programs

Susan supports the work of the U.S. Forest Service to prevent migratory species from becoming listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and decrease the number of species currently listed. The Migratory Species program works in partnership with local, national, and international organizations across the Americas on efforts to sustainably manage critical habitat for these species. Susan leads the program’s work on forest birds, including western hummingbirds.

DeAnna Williams
Wildlife Program Lead
Siuslaw Forest Service

DeAnna has worked for the Forest Service for over 11 years. She leads efforts to protect endangered and threatened species such as the Silver Spot Butterfly, Purple Martens, Rufous Hummingbirds, and shorebirds. She is also the Region 6 Shorebird Program Coordinator.