Mountain Plover and many other grassland birds have populations in steep decline. Private property holders with prairie/agricultural land can potentially make a big difference in maintaining and recovering populations of many of these charismatic species.


You all know me as the world’s preeminent ornithologist, and expert birderer (no, that’s not a typo). That gives me an elevated platform of expertise in most bird-related topics, but not all. Although I am the best glass-slinger there is, I am not a rich man. Rich in life, rich in birds, yes…but a birder billionaire I am not. Shocking, I know.

When I hear of the plight of some U.S. birds, particularly those that do not enjoy the protections of the Endangered Species Act but probably should, I occasionally think something along the lines of “I could probably do a lot for Lesser Prairie-Chickens if I had an extra million lying around”. Sadly, my fortunes will never allow me to financially intervene to such a degree in the plight of birdkind….but I know there are some out there who can.

As you probably know, birding can be the domain of the wealthy, at least here in the United States. Sure there are still poor college kids who have to bum rides to chase birds…but as you surely noticed last time you ran in to some birders, that is the exception rather than the rule. The person with the average income can’t afford to raise a family, traipse off to Attu Island for a week in the hope of snagging a couple of ABA ticks, buy the newest Nikon or Canon camera body and then reserve a spot on that Antarctic cruise they have been meaning to do. Some lucky birders have deep pockets, this is known. If birders are willing to spend so much money in the pursuit of birds, it seems some would be willing to spend some on protecting them as well…right?



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Even if wealthy donors purchase grassland to preserve some local bird populations, climate destabilization still looms as the future grim reaper of half of wild species.


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