a man stands on the sand looking out over the ocean while shorebirds fly in front of him

Scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Migratory Bird Center work to conserve migratory species through research and public education that foster a better understanding and appreciation of birds.

SMBC research focuses on birds throughout their annual cycle, managed lands, citizen science and saving species in decline. SMBC scientists collaborate with researchers from a variety of international organizations to continue the advancement of ornithology. In doing so, research conducted around the country and across the globe has led to on-the-ground efforts to conserve birds in a changing world.

The Migratory Connectivity Project, for example, uses tracking devices to unlock migratory mysteries by following the movements of migrating birds. SMBC’s Bird Friendly certification protects crucial bird habitat (and is a delicious way to help birds and their environment). Neighborhood Nestwatch, a public outreach program, helps communities learn about local wildlife by color-banding birds in their own backyards, while the school program, Bridging the Americas, connects students in different countries to learn more about the migratory birds they share throughout the year.


The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center is dedicated to understanding, conserving and championing the grand phenomenon of bird migration. Founded in 1991, we are located at the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C.

We seek to clarify why migratory bird populations are declining before the situation becomes desperate. Our programs help raise awareness about migratory birds and the need to protect diverse habitats across the Western Hemisphere.

-Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center