Conservation efforts are shaped by individual and collective human behaviors, cultural norms and values, economic pressures, and political and organizational structures. As such, the conservation social sciences—disciplines that draw on social science theories and approaches to improve conservation efforts—can play a vital role in advancing the science and practice of bird conservation. We connect the rich, ongoing discussion about the vital role of the conservation social sciences to the specific context of bird conservation and make an argument for the importance of proactive inclusion of these sciences in ornithological societies. First, we introduce the conservation social sciences and illustrate how they can improve the design and implementation of conservation programs and policies for birds. Drawing on discussions from a symposium we organized at the 2019 American Ornithological Society (AOS) annual meeting, we encourage the AOS to make institutional changes that could further support the inclusion of conservation social sciences. These changes ideally would include a working group, conference plenaries and themes, and high-quality social science publications, along with support and encouragement for ornithologists and bird conservationists to partake in trainings and collaborate with social scientists. Strategies for how to do so effectively can be adapted from other conservation societies that have paved the way for disciplinary inclusivity.
The conservation social sciences investigate how people think and act in relation to biodiversity, including birds and the habitats that support them.
Application of conservation social science findings can improve the effectiveness of bird conservation.
he American Ornithological Society and its members can take specific steps to facilitate integration of the conservation social sciences with ornithology.