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Katie McInnis

Hello Lane Audubon, my name is Katie McInnis. I’m here to tell you about the Bird City Americas program. Bird Cities is a program that was launched in Wisconsin in 2003. The goal was to help municipalities do their part to make their spaces more bird friendly.

Under this program bird friendly spaces are achieved by demonstrating fulfillment of requirements, generally categorized under (1) conserving and improving native habitat, (2) addressing population level threats (i.e. glass collisions, etc.), and (3) providing public education. Like the Tree and Bee City initiatives, this concept quickly became popular, as it improves not only the lives of birds, but also of citizens in the places that have adopted it. Beautification of local parks and open spaces, increased revenue in the local economy, and giving extra backing to climate change initiatives are just a few of the benefits that Bird Cities enjoy. Additionally, the program brings public awareness to issues affecting avian conservation and gives a sense of pride and accomplishment to stakeholders, businesses, and citizens that participate in bird-friendly improvements.

The Bird Cities program in Wisconsin has won acclaim, and similar programs have been started in Texas, Colorado, and Indiana. This year the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) announced that it will be standardizing the program and collaborating with Environment for the Americas to make it more available and accessible. Although specific criteria from ABC are not yet available, there are many programs in Eugene that will make it an excellent candidate for the Bird Cities program.

We are fortunate to live in a place where the importance of native habitat and wildlife is appreciated, and many stakeholders are willing to work together toward common conservation goals. In the coming months we hope to engage with these groups for further collaboration, not only to achieve the Bird Cities designation, but also to plan and create further improvements. It’s our hope that we can create a city that isn’t just a Bird City, but a place where birds and humans can flourish together.

I am a new Lane Audubon volunteer. I am a veterinarian who works for the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council. I have been officially birding since 2016, but am still working my way up to being an intermediate birder. My favorite bird is the Brown Creeper. I live in north Eugene with my husband, son (4.5 yo), daughter (2.5 yo), and pets. If you have any questions, ideas, or thoughts on collaboration please feel free to contact me at

— Katie McInnis