Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Raise awareness amongst the general public through campaigns and public information

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

A review of programmes in the USA and Canada argues that education was not sufficient to change behaviour, although it was necessary as a catalytic factor for economic incentives and law enforcement.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A review of 16 case studies (six of which were directly related to birds) using before-and-after analyses in the USA and Canada (Byers 2003) found that education and awareness initiatives were necessary but insufficient in effective conservation projects. Of the six case studies concerning birds, education and awareness decreased the hunting of American black duck Anas rubripes (USA and Canada) and threatened geese through more stringent regulations; did not decrease lead poisoning of common loons Gavia immer in New England, three years after pamphlet distribution; decreased oil contamination in Colorado and Wyoming pits (USA) by 67%; increased hatching rates of snowy plovers Charadrius nivosus in California (USA) by 18% in 5 years; and doubled seabird populations in a region in Quebec (Canada). Overall, education and awareness was almost never a sufficient factor in changing behaviour, although it was necessary as a catalytic factor for economic incentives and law enforcement.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Bird Conservation. Pages 137-281 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation
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What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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