Mission: Our mission is the study and conservation of birds and their habitats in and around the Gulf of Mexico.With its central position between the Americas, the Gulf of Mexico is a natural obstacle faced by millions of migratory birds that must either cross or go around it each spring and fall as they travel between their breeding and wintering grounds. The habitats surrounding the Gulf are used by over 800 bird species. About 300 of those species are nearctic-neotropical migrants that rely on these habitats for their survival in order to rest and refuel enroute. The Gulf of Mexico region contains the Hemisphere''s most important "stopover" habitat, but much of it is threatened by urbanization, destructive tourism development, and other land conversion activities.The Gulf region is shared among three countries-the United States, Mexico, and Cuba-and eleven U.S. and Mexican states. The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory (GCBO) has established a Site Partner Network to assist the conservation work of organizations and sites throughout this region. This network of sites currently includes 44 partners throughout this area responsible for over 7.3 million acres of coastal habitat. Fifteen of these partner sites protect Gulf coastal habitat outside the United States-seven in the Yucatan Peninsula, seven in the Mexican provinces of Veracruz and Tamaulipas, and one in western Cuba. By being part of this Site Partner Network, the conservation partners around the Gulf of Mexico benefit from information exchange, fundraising assistance, publicity, etc.
Programs: The mission of the GCBO is accomplished through three major categories of programs: Land Protection, Avian Research, and Educational Outreach. The Gulf Crossings project is key to our Land Protection program and involves working with partner sites to map and prioritize Gulf coastal habitat, and also to manage, protect, and restore these sites and acquire additional habitat for protection. Land Protection is closely linked to the other two categories of research and outreach. This is because avian research is necessary for prioritization of sites and monitoring the success of management strategies, and outreach efforts communicate the importance of conservation in the Gulf region and encourage people to participate in its protection. The three Avian Research projects currently managed by the GCBO are Migration Monitoring, Smith Point Hawk Watch, and Project Prairie Birds. Our Migration Monitoring program is a long-term research project whereby volunteers throughout the Gulf region and beyond gather information on migratory birds. This information is being collected and analyzed to address the many unanswered questions related to migration in order to understand how to protect birds. A second project, Smith Point Hawk Watch monitors raptor populations as they pass through southeast Texas on migration. The third research program, Project Prairie Birds, involves citizen scientists monitoring wintering grassland birds in coastal prairies to determine the trends and habitat requirements of these birds that utilize this highly threatened habitat type. This research is of great importance since prairies are the most endangered ecosystem in Texas. There is clearly an educational component to these research programs for the many participating partners, but the GCBO is also directly involved in outreach through various events, publications, and presentations which serve to communicate the importance of bird and habitat conservation to the public.
Unbelievably important organization for the future of migratory bird populations. They are extreemly active in education, habitat preservation and public outreach. They support a network of nature preserves (Site Partners) all around the Gulf of Mexico. Support comes from Environmentaly sensitive corporations and individuals interested in the continued health of our bird populations.
The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory is helping save habitat for our precious birds and educates many people on how to be good stewards of the resources all around us. They are building a new education center to continue to fulfill on that commitment. Have worked with them for over 12 years and continue to be impressed by the high return on investment with the donor's dollars. Main location is in the beautiful Columbia bottomlands near Houston, Texas, a must visit if you are in the area.