The intent of bird observatories around the world can be boiled down to assessing the needs of birds, using that assessment to educate a variety of different audiences, and ultimately supporting wildlife and wildlife habitat conservation. Bird observatories tend to be located at strategic points of migration concentration, and data from each point is valuable especially regarding the local needs of the birds (and other wildlife) moving through it. With the advent of new technologies and the pressing need to address the impacts of climate change and development, bird observatory operators are seeing greater value in bridging the gaps between individual sites and working collaboratively to ask and answer bigger questions, with a goal of imparting greater impact than the sum of their individual locations.
The first International Bird Observatory Conference (IBOC) was hosted by Falsterbo Bird Observatory in Sweden over four days in August of 2014. This was the first attempt to bring together representatives from the world's observatories at a single event. Over 100 participants representing 40 bird observatories from six continents gathered to learn from each other, share knowledge, and develop relationships that would lead to collaboration over the subsequent years.
On October 26-30, New Jersey Audubon's Cape May Bird Observatory (CMBO) will host the 2nd International Bird Observatory Conference (IBOC), with over 300 representatives of more than 100 international bird observatories from around the globe expected. CMBO was founded in 1976 by New Jersey Audubon because of its strategic geographic location, which puts it right in the flyway of millions of birds each spring and fall. Migrating songbirds, including colorful warblers, joined by scores of hawks, eagles, falcons and owls, followed by over a million waterbirds, define the fall season at Cape May. All the while Cape May Bird Observatory keeps its finger firmly on the pulse of migration through our annual migration counts, seasonal interpretive programs, and cadre of staff, seasonal naturalists and volunteers working to connect people to nature, and steward the nature of today for the people of tomorrow.