Birding Businesses and Their Customers Working Together to Conserve Birds and Their Habitats

The Swallow-tailed Kite is one of the highest priority species within the Partners in Flight conservation ranking system. The Migratory Bird Conservancy was established in part to help protect habitats for birds most in need of conservation action, like the kite.

The Migratory Bird Conservancy is the only program devoted exclusively to conservation of birds and their habitats. MBC is a unique partnership among birders, birding businesses, and the conservation community. Our goal is to raise at least $500,000 annually to help conserve bird habitats throughout the Western Hemisphere. YOU can help save birds by making a tax-deductible donation and by supporting those companies that contribute to MBC.

We are pleased to highlight one of our sponsors-Big Pockets™ Field Gear. Learn why Big Pockets supports bird conservation through the Migratory Bird Conservancy. For more information visit their website at

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is proud to partner with over 30 companies who support the MBC. We believe that the Migratory Bird Conservancy offers an excellent opportunity for birders and birding businesses to contribute to the goals and objectives of Partners in Flight. We believe that birders and the birding industry should play a key role in increasing awareness for the plight of Neotropical migratory birds. The MBC offers that opportunity. Click here to learn more about the Foundation and their bird program.

For more information contact the Migratory Bird Conservancy via e-mail.

About the Migratory Bird Conservancy

Birders and Birding Businesses Working Together to Conserve Habitats

The Migratory Bird Conservancy was established to raise funds to conserve birds and their habitats. Conserving habitat is the single most important action that can be taken to benefit birds

No other program brings together the resources of businesses, birders, and conservationists to work cooperatively to protect birds. No other program is devoted exclusively to conserving habitat for birds.

Here is how the Migratory Bird Conservancy works:

Birding businesses and birders contribute to the fund, which is managed by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The Foundation matches contributions on a dollar for dollar basis, doubling the available funding.

Organizations with an interest in conserving bird habitats apply to the Migratory Bird Conservancy. After a competitive and peer-reviewed selection process, awards are made for outstanding projects. Grantees are required to match Migratory Bird Conservancy awards on a dollar for dollar basis. For example, if an award of $10,000 is made, the grantee must match the award with a minimum of $10,000 in cash or contributed goods and services. Through this matching process, each $1 contributed to the Migratory Bird Conservancy becomes at least $4 in on-the-ground conservation.

The elusive Mountain Plover is one of only nine birds unique to the vanishing short-grass prairie ecosystem. Recent studies have shown that this unusual “shorebird” had declined by more than 50 percent since 1966 and has recently been considered for proposed listing by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Protecting this species and its habitat is a priority of the Migratory Bird Conservancy.

What a great formula to help conserve bird habitat!

Other important facts about the Migratory Bird Conservancy:

Thanks to Our Sponsors

The following companies have contributed to the Migratory Bird Conservancy. We encourage you to thank these companies for supporting our bird conservation efforts, and that you will seek out their products.

Wild Bird Centers of America, Glen Echo, MD
Wild Bird Feeding Institute, Northbrook, IL
Volieres exterieures
Wild Birds Unlimited, Carmel, IN
Aspects Inc., Warren, RI
Audubon Park Co., Akron, OH
Birdwatch America, Hancock, NH
C & S Products, Fort Dodge, IA
Cedar Works Inc., Peebles, OH
Century Tool and Manufacturing, Cherry Valley, IL
Cherri’s Feed-n-Seed, Auburn, MI
Commercial Bag Co., Normal, IL
Duncraft Inc., Concord, NH
ETO Sterilization, Linden, NJ
F.M. Brown’s Sons, Sinking Springs, PA
Going Birding, Inc. Chicago, IL
Greenwood & Gryphon, Barrington, RI
Gutwein & Company, Francisville, IN
Heath Manufacturing Co., Coopersville, MI
Heritage Farms, Cherry Valley, IL
Kaytee Products, Chilton, WI
Knight Seed Co., Burnsville, MN
Merchandising Display Corporation, Mt. Lake, NJ
National Bird Feeding Society, Northbrook, IL
Northern Bag & Box Co., Grand Forks, ND
New England Wild Bird Food, Fitchburg, MA
Perky-Pet Products, Denver, CO
Sunbird, Inc., Huron, ND
Swarovski Optik, Cranston, RI
Swarovski Optik KG, Austria
Vari-Crafts Inc., Landing, NJ
Zoo de Beauval
Wagner Bros. Feed Co., Farmingdale, NY


The Migratory Bird Conservancy has received a broad base of support from both industry and the consumer. The following articles highlight some of the information being published about the Migratory Bird Conservancy.


How to Make a Donation to the Migratory Bird Conservancy

The Migratory Bird Conservancy relies on the donations of bird enthusiasts. Whether you donate as an individual, or through your company or organization, this is your chance to be directly involved in the conservation of critical habitat for birds.

Government agencies, Non-profit organizations, private citizens, and businesses all contributed to bring back the Bald Eagle-by far the most recognized bird species in the United States and once a rare species. With support from the Migratory Bird Conservancy, we can help with other future success stories!

Your donations to the MBC are tax deductible. In addition, no overhead or operating expenses are taken from your contribution- every penny you contribute goes directly to the birds and their habitats! Best of all, for every $1 that you contribute to MBC, $4 or more go to support bird conservation! The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is matching all contributions to MBC, and grantees are required to match awards from MBC. Your contribution will be at least quadrupled- there is no other deal like it!

MBC is the only fund devoted exclusively to the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. It offers donors unparalleled financial leverage for their contributions. Most of all, MBC puts the money directly where it is needed–into conservation of priority bird habitats.

Benefits to contributing to MBC:

To make a donation to the MBC, please make your check or money order out to NFWF/MBC and send to:

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
1875 Century Blvd. - Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30345
For more information contact the Migratory Bird Conservancy via e-mail.

How to Apply for a Grant from the Migratory Bird Conservancy

The Migratory Bird Conservancy is a bird conservation grant fund supported by donations from birding businesses and their customers, and matched by National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Thus, MBC awards will consists of a mix of private and federal funds. All grantees will be required to match Migratory Bird Conservancy awards on at least a one-to-one level with cash or tangible in-kind contributions. All awards will be made through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and grantees will be expected to comply with Foundation contractual requirements.

Wetlands are critical to birds and many other species of wildlife. Weltlands provide nesting, overwintering, and stopover habitat during migration for Neotropical migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, and songbirds. Your contribution to the MBC will help fund conservation projects that will protect these vital habitats.

The MBC will fund projects that directly address conservation of priority bird habitats in the Western Hemisphere. Acquisition, restoration, and improved management of habitats are program priorities. Education, research, and monitoring will be considered only as components of actual habitat conservation projects.

Preproposal Deadline

Deadline for preproposals is June 1, annually (postmarked date). Early submissions are appreciated. This preproposal form must be used (will download a Word document); other submissions will not be accepted. Submit eight (8) copies of the preproposal to: Kathleen Moore, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, 1875 Century Blvd., Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30345. 404-679-7209.

Proposal Criteria

Preproposals and proposals will be judged by at least the following criteria:

  1. Importance to Partners in Flight Watch List species;
  2. Priority of the proposed conservation action within regional or state Partners in Flight conservation plans;
  3. Benefits of proposed project to other nearby conservation areas, such as National Wildlife Refuges;
  4. Viewing opportunities for birders, and actual or potential volume of visitation;
  5. Additional partnerships; and
  6. Matching funds ratio.

For more information about how to apply to the Migratory Bird Conservancy, visit the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Grant Guidelines and the Frequently Asked Questions section.

General Challenge Grant Guidelines

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation operates a conservation grants program that awards challenge grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible grant recipients, including federal, tribal, state, and local governments, educational institutions, and non-profit conservation organizations. Project proposals are received on a year-round, revolving basis with two decision cycles per year. Grants typically range from $10,000-$150,000, based upon need.

What Is The Foundation?

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is a private, non-profit, 501©(3) tax-exempt organization established by Congress in 1984. The Foundation fosters cooperative partnerships to conserve fish, wildlife, plants, and the habitats on which they depend. The Foundation works with its grantees and conservation partners to stimulate private, state, and local funding for conservation through challenge grants.

What Does the Foundation Fund?

Challenge grants are awarded to projects that:

Address priority actions promoting fish and wildlife conservation and the habitats on which they depend;
Work proactively to involve other conservation and community interests;
Leverage available funding; and
Evaluate project outcomes.
What Doesn’t the Foundation Fund?
Political advocacy or litigation of any kind;
Shortfalls in government agency budgets;
General administrative overhead or indirect costs;
Multi-year grants (applicant may reapply);
Basic research (including graduate research).
Where Does the Foundation Fund Projects?
The Foundation funds projects throughout the United States and its territories. Projects in Canada, Mexico, and other international areas that host migratory wildlife and other U.S. trust resources (marine mammals, threatened and endangered species, anadromous and marine fish) are also considered.

Where Do Funds Come From?

The Foundation awards challenge grants utilizing federal matching funds provided by annual Congressional appropriations and agreements with federal agencies including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Agency for International Development, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and USDA-Forest Service. The Foundation also receives and awards contributions from select foundations, corporations, and other non-federal entities.

What Are Challenge Grants?

The Foundation is mandated by Congress to ensure that each federal matching dollar awarded is leveraged with a non-federal dollar or equivalent goods and services. The Foundation refers to these funds as “challenge funds.” As a policy, the Foundation seeks to achieve at least a 2:1 return on its project portfolio – $2 raised in challenge funds to every federal matching dollar awarded. To be eligible, challenge funds must be:

Non-federal in origin (federally appropriated or managed funds are ineligible; e.g., Pittman-Robertson, Dingell-Johnson, Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act);
Raised and dedicated specifically for the project (general operating funds of the grantee are ineligible);
Voluntary in nature (mitigation, restitution, or other permit or court-ordered settlements are generally ineligible); and
Applied only to the Foundation grant and not to any other federal matching programs.
For more information about Challenge Fund eligibility, please click here.
How Do I Apply for a General Challenge Grant?
Submit a pre-proposal to the appropriate regional or national office via first class mail, fax, or email or via this website; where possible, please provide the Foundation with an electronic copy to facilitate review. Pre-proposals should contain a concise project summary (1-2 pages), including objectives, methodology, conservation outcomes, and a budget that indicates how Foundation funds and challenge funds will be used. Upon receipt and evaluation of the pre-proposal, the Foundation will invite successful applicants to submit a full proposal. The Foundation’s general challenge grant application form will be provided to successful applicants at that time.

Project pre-proposals are accepted throughout the year and slated for review and action within two decision cycles annually.

Project Pre-Proposal Received By: Project Full Proposal Due: Board of Directors Decision:
June 1*
July 15*
November 30
October 15*
December 1*
March 31
*If a deadline falls during a weekend or holiday, then the proposal is due on the next business day. Proposals received after a deadline may be postponed to the next decision cycle at the Foundation’s discretion. The Foundation’s Board of Directors may elect to fund, postpone, or decline funding for any proposal.

What Makes a Good Pre-Proposal?

A successful pre-proposal is brief, to-the-point, and descriptive. Ensure that the pre-proposal addresses:
Conservation need and benefit of proposed action(s);
Opportunities for substantive multi-sector involvement and coordination;
Staff qualifications and organization’s track record;
Integration of program monitoring and evaluation; and
Ability to use Foundation grant to leverage additional non-federal resources.
Additional Questions
If, after careful review of these guidelines, you have additional questions, please contact the appropriate regional office.

Frequently Asked Questions about National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grants

What is the average size of a Foundation grant?
While each grant program has a different amount of funding available, grants typically fall in the $25,000 to $75,000 range, with some small grants and some over $150,000.

Do proposals need to be postmarked or received by the due date?
Unless otherwise stated, proposals are due at the Foundation by close-of-business on the due date. If the due date falls during a weekend or holiday, then proposals are due on the next business day.

What is the status of my proposal?

The Foundation’s Board of Directors reviews proposals on numerous occasions throughout the year, and Foundation staff will contact you once the Board has decided on your proposal. Each grant program has different notification dates; please note the date listed on the request for proposals for your particular program. In addition to Foundation review, all proposals are required to undergo review by Congress, and some grant programs require review by program steering committees comprised of federal and private partners. Thus the time between application submission and notification varies.

I missed the due date for submitting a proposal; what should I do now?

Any number of funding opportunities exist at the Foundation throughout the year. Please contact the project officer for the grant program in which you are interested. He or she may be able to consider your proposal for remaining funds available under that program or direct you to another appropriate program, such as the Foundation’s general challenge grant program.

Is this eligible as Challenge Funds?

Challenge Funds must be non-federal in origin; raised and dedicated specifically for the project; and voluntary in nature. It is a good idea to discuss potential sources of Challenge Funds with your project officer prior to submitting a proposal to determine eligibility. You do not need to have your Challenge Funds secured prior to receiving a Foundation grant, but you should have some ideas of possible sources. For more information about Challenge Fund eligibility, please click here.

Do my donors have to send their Challenge Fund to the Foundation?

No, there are a number of ways you may document Challenge Funds, including having your donors send a letter to the Foundation. Please see Info for Grantees for more information on documenting Challenge Funds.

Why is my ratio of Challenge to NFWF Federal Funds so high?
The ratio is based on information that you provide during the application process; while a higher ratio may make your proposal more competitive, you should be realistic in how much Challenge Funds you need to complete the project and will be able to raise. While the minimum ratio is 1:1, the Foundation strives to achieve a 2:1. In Fiscal Year 2000, the average ratio was 2.22:1.

Where can I get Challenge Funds?

The Foundation Center collects and disseminates information on other foundations, corporate giving, and related subjects.

When do I get my money?

After the Board of Directors approves a project, the Foundation will contact you for any additional information needed to generate a grant agreement. Upon execution of the grant agreement, you may submit an invoice for grant funds. The Foundation generally disburses funds on a reimbursement basis to the extent of Challenge Funds documented, based on the grant ratio. Please see Info for Grantees for more information on invoicing for funds.

What are OMB Circulars and their relevance to my grant?

The federal Office of Management and Budget develops government-wide policy to assure that grants are managed properly and that federal dollars are spent in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. These laws and regulations apply to those organization which receive federal funds, including the Foundation. If you are awarded NFWF Federal Funds, your financial officer should be familiar with the requirements of circulars in order to determine if your organization is capable of meeting them.

What is the CFDA number for my grant?

Generally, there is no specific CFDA (Catalogue of Domestic Federal Assistance) number for a Foundation grant; however, please refer to your grant agreement.


The following projects have recently been funded with the support from the Migratory Bird Conservancy

Bosque del Apache Migratory Bird Habitat

Project Name: Bosque del Apache Migratory Bird Habitat

Grantee: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

Location: South central New Mexico

Award: $50,000

For more information visit their website at or contact them at 505-835-1828.

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is one of the hottest birding and wildlife-watching sites in North America. Each fall, tens of thousands of Snow Geese, Sandhill Cranes, and dozens of other species stop at this site, which attracts more than 170,000 visitors annually. One of the highlights here is the early morning “lift-off,” where visitors are treated to an upclose view of thousands of geese, ducks and cranes leaving their overnight roosting sites as they move to nearby fields to forage.

With this grant from the Migratory Bird Conservancy, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, will be able to restore more than 200 acres of critical habitat degraded by saltcedar, an exotic invasive plant species that destroys the wildlife values of western wetlands.

Bosque del Apache is an important habitat link for migratory birds that nest in the U.S. and Canada and travel to Mexico and points south for the winter. In addition to waterfowl, dozens of species of shorebirds will benefit from this project, as will the endangered Southwest Willow Flycatcher. Eagles and a variety of other predators will also benefit from these habitat improvements.

For more information contact the Migratory Bird Conservancy via e-mail.

New River State Park Migratory Birds

Project: New River State Park Migratory Birds

Grantee: New River Community Partners

Location: Jefferson, North Carolina

Award: $30,000

For more information, contact the Park at 336-982-2377.

The New River State Park helps conserve a 26.5 mile corridor, which includes approximately 1,700 acres of riparian forest. This section of the New River is so important that it has received three levels of recognition: a State Wild and Scenic River, a National Wild and Scenic River and a National Heritage River. Unfortunately, these 1,700 acres are scattered among several parcels. This is bad news for many species of birds that require large, unbroken tracts of forest for successful nesting.

To help fix this problem, Park officials have been trying to consolidate their holdings along the River. With the help from the Migratory Bird Conservancy, the New River State Park will acquire 18 acres of land that increases one tract from 140 to 158 acres. This area is will be critical in eventually connecting more than 300 acres of unbroken habitat that is home to more 15 species of migratory birds considered priorities by Partners in Flight.

Not only birds will be protected through this project-20 species of ferns are found here, as well as ginseng, river otter and two fish species of special state concern. About 100,000 visitors are expected at this park in 2001.

Rae Farm Birding Lease

Project: Rae Farm Birding Lease
Grantee: New Jersey Audubon Society
Location: West Cape May, Southern New Jersey
Award: $20,000

For more information, visit their website at or contact them at 9088-204-8998.

New Jersey Audubon Society and the Cape May Bird Observatory are using a grant from the Migratory Bird Conservancy to help protect the Rea Farm (a.k.a. The Beanery) through a very creative “pay for birding” program. The Rea Farm is 85 acres of agricultural fields, woodlands and swamps at the southern tip of Cape May. It’s an extremely popular birding spot adjacent to protected state lands. The Rea family is under increasing pressure to develop part of the farm, which would be bad news for birds and birders. To help alleviate this pressure, the Migratory Bird Conservancy was able to give the Rea family a grant to help develop their land for birds and birders (trails, information areas, parking, etc.) and then charge for the privilege. This projects is a superb example of how private sector ingenuity can help conservation.