Mass Audubon was founded by Harriet Hemenway (left) and Minna Hall in 1896, and was one of the earliest bird conservation societies in the world. Their impetus for creating a “society” for the protection of birds was driven by the Victorian era’s appetite for using whole birds, as well as feathers, as ornaments in women’s fashion. Hundreds of millions of birds were killed worldwide to stoke the furnaces of fashion. This, along with unrestricted market hunting of shorebirds, ducks, pigeons and other species was driving many species toward extinction. Their slogan, We are Here to Help, still guides our work.
Mrs Hemenway and Miss Hall, residents of Beacon Hill in Boston, organized the Massachusetts Audubon Society, named to honor the great naturalist John James Audubon, and their goal was change the status quo and to protect birds. The group started a movement, and the movement led directly to the protection of birds in the United States, as well as abroad. Their actions changed the world, and, in the US, their work led to the formative legislation that protects birds to this day. There are two fine articles to read regarding the history of Mass Audubon, and they help to set the stage for all of our work since then.
Our commitment to bird conservation has never wavered. While we have new science bringing us new tools to drive our actions to protect birds, at Mass Audubon we also celebrate birds simply for their beauty and mysteries. We recognize that protecting birds in a vacuum is short-sighted, and we continue to work every day to be a voice for protecting the intricate and fragile web that supports all species. Simply, living in a world rich with wildlife makes us feel good, watching and learning about birds makes us feel good, and it is our passion to protect the diversity of the natural world for the future.
This blog will focus on birds, conservation, and ecosystem sciences, with a non-exclusive bend toward work on species that occur in the northeastern US. Sometimes we will post images just because they are beautiful, funny, or inspiring. We welcome your constructive comments.