Logo

Nashville Bird Agenda

Nashville Bird Agenda

 

Introducing Nashville’s Bird Agenda, a comprehensive implementation plan created in collaboration with numerous stakeholders via the October 2022 Stakeholder meeting and through follow-up with individuals. As we embark on implementing the Bird Agenda, partners will prioritize actions based on feasibility and available resources, aiming for completing within a 3-5 year timeline. Our steering committee has crafted SMART actions – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound – to guide our efforts, recognizing the potential for adjustments during implementation.

Aligned with the UBT goals, Nashville’s Bird Agenda builds upon existing community programs and activities, aiming to create a safe and welcoming environment for birds while engaging diverse communities. In partnership with stakeholder organizations and government agencies, we’re committed to achieving the following goals: 

  • Goal 1: Protect, restore, and enhance urban habitats for birds
  • Goal 2: Reduce urban hazards to birds,  
  • Goal 3: Educate and engage urban communities in caring about and conserving birds and their habitats

The Nashville Bird Agenda aligns with the UBT program’s emphasis on bird habitat conservation through invasive species control and native plant restoration. It also supports hazard reduction efforts through bird-friendly design and Lights Out programs, while promoting community science opportunities involving bird and habitat monitoring. Additionally, the agenda fosters collaborative and inclusive engagement programs that provide people with opportunities to appreciate birds and participate in their conservation. Other key features include habitat protection, adoption of sustainable practices, and providing opportunities for wildlife and natural resource job skill and career development for young people from diverse, underserved communities.

The framework provides a structured approach to address the three UBT goals, ensuring Nashville’s commitment to bird conservation and community engagement.  

Goal 1: Conserve Urban Habitats for Birds
Objective 1.1: Create, restore, protect, and ensure best management practices for bird habitat
Action 1.1.1.
Identify and implement seasonal best management practices for birds on metro-owned public lands. This includes properly timed mowing, minimal use of herbicides/pesticides, and retaining snags and standing dead trees for cavity nesting birds.

Partners for Implementation: Metro Parks Nature Centers (Nature Centers), Metro Departments, Nashville Zoo

Work with private business and non-governmental landowners to adopt seasonal management best practices that protect nesting birds on their properties.

Partners for Implementation: Tennessee Wildlife Federation, The Habitat Connection

Develop and receive approval for a natural areas designation plan for new or existing public lands and/or portions of publicly owned lands (local, state, federal) as ‘natural areas’ that would be primarily managed for the benefit of native plants, wildlife, and ecosystems, and may include passive recreational activities.

Partners for Implementation: The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Metro Departments 

Identify priorities for potential land acquisitions, donations, or conservation easements that could benefit priority bird, wildlife, riparian and native plant communities.

Partners for Implementation: TennGreen, TNC, Metro Departments 

Restore 200 acres and implement a maintenance plan for habitat on publicly owned land (Metro Parks, TWRA, TN State Parks) with special emphasis on native grasslands.

Partners for Implementation: TNC, TN Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), TN State Parks & State Natural Areas, Metro Departments 

Collaborate with local communities to create native habitat and demonstration gardens in and on public properties, community centers, libraries, or other sites to provide nature access that can be easily visited by socioeconomically diverse groups.

Partners for Implementation: Urban Green Lab, Nature Centers

Explore opportunities for permanent dedicated funding in Metro Nashville to support habitat protection and restoration

Partners for Implementation: TNC, Mayor’s Office, Trust for Public Land

Sponsor a small grants program for habitat restoration projects to improve bird habitat.

Partners for Implementation: Wild Ones, TWRA, Garden Club of Nashville, Metro Departments 

Action 1.2.1.

Maximize the value of vacant lots and right-of-way space (e.g., power lines, pipelines, etc.) and Nashville’s flood buyout sites by promoting and advocating for native plantings that support birds throughout the year.

Partners for Implementation: Cumberland River Compact, Harpeth Conservancy, NES, TN State Parks & State Natural Areas, Metro Departments

Advocate for the incorporation of native trees, native shrubs, native herbaceous plants, and/or cultivars of native species in public and private landscaping.

Partners for Implementation: Urban Green Lab, Nature Centers, Metro Departments, Cheekwood Estate and Gardens

Develop and promote a city-recommended list of native tree, shrub and forb species that support birds throughout the year, recommended for use by parks and new developments (business and sub-division developers).

Partners for Implementation: Urban Green Lab, Nature Centers, Tennessee Invasive Plant Council, Metro Departments 

Host plant sales with high emphasis on native plants that support birds.

Partners for Implementation: Wild Ones, Garden Club of Nashville

Action 1.3.1.

Utilize the Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) and state and federally listed species to identify the suite of birds that occur within Davidson County and have also been determined by SWAP to be of greatest conservation need.

Partners for Implementation: TWRA

Promote the conservation of focal species (e.g., Eastern Bluebird, Barn Swallow, Rusty Blackbird, Osprey, Chimney Swift, Loggerhead Shrike) through research, state of the art habitat management techniques, and/or public education..

Partners for Implementation: TWRA, Nature Centers, Friends of Warner Park’s Warner Park Nature Center BIRD Program (BIRD Program), Southeastern Avian Research (SEAR), Austin Peay State University, Nashville Zoo

Install a permanent Motus receiver station in downtown Nashville to inform Purple Martin roost behavior, benefiting other avian research projects. Identify other sites where the installation of additional Motus stations provide increased opportunities to support research of priority species.

Partners for Implementation: BIRD Program, Nashville Zoo, TNC

Utilize eBird, iNaturalist and local expert-derived information to construct species lists for each nature center and public lands over 100 acres and identify areas/ habitats where birds of greatest conservation need are most often observed.

Partners for Implementation: Nature Centers, TNC

Create an informal Purple Martin task force to annually identify and document the migration roost, and to work with partners to ensure the safety of the martins

Partners for Implementation: Bird Safe Nashville (BSN), BIRD Program, Nashville TOS, TNC, Mayor’s Office, Metro Departments

Action 1.4.1.

Implement wetland habitat restoration or installations to mitigate flooding along waterways and greenways

Partners for Implementation: Cumberland River Compact, Harpeth Conservancy, Metro Departments

Conduct riparian habitat restoration to promote bird habitat and water quality improvement.

Partners for Implementation: Cumberland River Compact, Harpeth Conservancy, Metro Departments

Continue to improve Metro Nashville sewer systems to eliminate unauthorized flows of untreated raw sewage and control overflows of combined sewage and storm water per the agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

Partners for Implementation: Cumberland River Compact, Harpeth Conservancy, Metro Water Service

Implement actions from the Clean Water Act and the EPA’s National Menus of Best Management Practices for Stormwater into the City’s stormwater management plan.

Partners for Implementation: Metro Water Services

Require water quality buffers on new development and redevelopment projects.

Partners for Implementation: Metro Water Services

Objective 2.1: Address disturbance by invasive and detrimental species
Action 2.1.1.

Provide rationale to the USDA for why a proposed plant species is or may become invasive and recommend that it be removed from lists provided to regions where proposed species are not native.

Partners for Implementation: Tennessee Invasive Plant Council

Hold at least 25 community exotic invasive removal events on public lands with an emphasis on areas of importance to birds.

Partners for Implementation: Nature Centers, Friends of Warner Park, Garden Club of Nashville Weed Wrangle®, Tennessee Invasive Plant Council

Assess the feasibility of passing a Metro ordinance to ensure the use of native plants on appropriate and publicly owned lands including parks and rights of way and encourage other publicly owned properties to do the same.

Partners for Implementation: Metro Departments and UBT Core Group

Assess the feasibility of prohibiting cat trap/neuter/release programs within Metro Nashville.

Partners for Implementation: UBT Core Group

Action 2.2.1

Form a working group to explore the feasibility of passing a city ordinance that requires new building construction to follow bird-safe design, construction, and operation guidelines (e.g., Toronto Green Standard, San Francisco ordinance, NYC ordinance).

Partners for Implementation: Metro Departments, BSN, Nashville Zoo

Educate the public about the benefits of window modifications that improve glass visibility and reduce glass reflectivity, including through demonstration displays in public areas.

Partners for Implementation: Nature Centers, Mayor’s Office

Work with Architectural firms, City Planning Committee, and Nashville Civic Design Center to raise awareness of the importance of bird-friendly design.

Partners for Implementation: BSN

Work with Metro to assess the feasibility of designing or retrofitting high profile public or private buildings to reduce bird collisions using Bird-Friendly Buildings guidelines by American Bird Conservancy and Audubon.

Partners for Implementation: UBT Core Group, Metro Departments, Wild Birds Unlimited, Audubon

Action 2.3.1.

Sign up federal, state and Metro buildings and more businesses and individuals for the voluntary Lights Out Program during spring and fall migration periods.

Partners for Implementation: BSN, Metro Departments

Provide organizations and educational institutions with educational outreach programs about Lights Out and other objectives of the UBT program.

Partners for Implementation: BSN, Urban Green Lab, Nature Centers, Audubon

Create a communications campaign that highlights Lights Out and birdfriendly building design and/or retrofitting to reduce collisions.

Partners for Implementation: Nashville Wildlife Conservation Center

Form a working group to explore the feasibility of passing an ordinance requiring city buildings to have downcast lighting and shielded lighting throughout the city and refrains from installing or using blue wavelength lights (4000 Kelvin) in all outdoor publicly owned fixtures with a target of approximately 2700 Kelvin.

Partners for Implementation: Metro Departments, NES, Tennessee Chapter International Dark Sky Association

Work with Nashville Department of Transportation (NDOT) and Nashville Electric Service (NES) to transition to Dark Sky compliant lighting on roads and in problematic areas.

Partners for Implementation: Metro Departments, NES, Tennessee Chapter International Dark Sky Association

Form a working group to explore the feasibility of extending Dark Skies to core downtown buildings.

Partners for Implementation: Metro Departments, Tennessee Chapter International Dark Sky Association

Certify Warner Parks and consider other large Metro city parks as an ‘Urban Night Sky Place’ with the International Dark Sky Association.

Partners for Implementation: Warner Park Nature Center, Tennessee Chapter International Dark Sky Association

Action 2.4.1.

Educate the public about the importance of cleaning bird feeders and bird baths regularly to prevent the spread and impact of diseases like Avian Bird Flu. Coordinate with the TN Department of Agriculture and TWRA to communicate the current status of diseases within the Nashville area.

Partners for Implementation: The Habitat Connection, Nature Centers

Engage communities in at least 25 trash clean ups (especially of plastics) on land and in waterways.

Partners for Implementation: Cumberland River Compact

Create and post educational signage about the negative impacts of feeding wildlife and of hazardous trash, especially plastics, monofilament, and fishing line.

Partners for Implementation: Nature Centers 

Ensure the implementation of Metro Nashville Integrated Pest Management strategies to minimize use of pesticides, herbicides, rodenticides, and other chemicals which are harmful or fatal to birds on city-managed property.

Partners for Implementation: Metro Departments 

Explore policies to encourage voluntary efforts to limit distribution of single use plastic (straws, shopping bags, balloons, etc.) and provide clean-up containers for microfilaments, when applicable.

Partners for Implementation: UBT Core Team, Mayor’s office

Objective 3.1: Celebrate World Migratory Bird Day
Action 3.1.1.

Celebrate World Migratory Bird Day across the city’s nature centers and promote community stewardship and appreciation of native birds and their habitats.

Partners for Implementation: Nature Centers, Metro Nashville Public Schools

Engage diverse and historically unengaged communities with planning and participation at each World Migratory Bird Day event.

Partners for Implementation: Nature Centers, Metro Nashville Public Schools

Engage diverse and historically unengaged communities to create art which celebrates migratory birds and hold community art exhibitions displayed in nature centers.

Partners for Implementation: Nature Centers

Engage Mayor’s Office and partners to promote World Migratory Bird Day event and Nashville’s Bird Agenda Actions.

Partners for Implementation: Nature Centers 

Action 3.2.1.

Continue to offer high quality environmental education opportunities at the four nature centers and expand opportunities within the park system and community centers to support the goals of the UBT Program.

Partners for Implementation: Nature Centers, TN State Parks & State Natural Areas

nstall accessible birdwatching amenities in public parks, community centers and private parks such as bird blinds, observation decks, interpretive signs, binocular loan out programs, birdwatching/trail guides, and remote web cameras on nest platforms.

Partners for Implementation: Nature Centers, TN State Parks & State Natural Areas

Conduct speaker or workshop events with topics focusing on issues relating to birds, wildlife, habitat conservation, native plants for birds, environmental stewardship and engaging communities in nature.

Partners for Implementation: Audubon, Nashville TOS, Nature Centers, Nashville Zoo

Provide information on municipal tourism and/or Chamber of Commerce or other local partner website about local birdwatching sites, lists of native birds, tips for native landscaping for birds, local educational resources, birdwatching events, bird-related community science projects and bird clubs.

Partners for Implementation: TWRA, Nashville TOS, Metro Nashville Public Schools

Develop and promote accessible city-wide birding trails with onsite and online information, which may include signage, a map of sites, habitat descriptions and birds that can be seen, and birdwatching and education programs at these sites.

Partners for Implementation: Metro Departments, TWRA, Radnor Lake State Natural Area and Division of State Natural Areas, Nashville TOS

Action 3.3.1.

Facilitate and recruit Eagle Scouts for bird conservation projects such as bird blinds, nest boxes, educational signage, and habitat restoration.

Partners for Implementation: Nature Centers 

Offer day camps and community center outreach programs to local youth, including diverse underserved youth, covering topics that relate to birds and conservation.

Partners for Implementation: Nature Centers, Metro Nashville Public Schools

Partner with local university professors to recruit students for volunteering and paid internship opportunities in bird-related conservation and stewardship.

Partners for Implementation: Nature Centers, Lipscomb University, Belmont, Tennessee State University

Conduct teacher workshops to inspire and encourage teachers to incorporate bird-related topics into curriculum.

Partners for Implementation: Urban Green Lab, Nature Centers, Metro Nashville Public Schools

Hire a recent graduate as the Urban Bird Treaty Program Coordinator, to focus on community engagement with underserved communities and stakeholder coordination for implementation, evaluation, monitoring and reporting activities.

Partners for Implementation: TNC

Action 3.4.1.

Educate the public about the responsibilities and best practices of providing food and clean water for birds and discern the benefits of landscaping with native plants to provide natural food sources through website, newsletters, public events, and the National Audubon Society’s Plants for Birds program.

Partners for Implementation: Urban Green Lab, Nature Centers, The Habitat Connection, Cumberland River Compact, NES

Implement an annual communications campaign about issues and actions related to World Migratory Bird Day events, creating bird-friendly communities, the city’s Urban Bird Treaty designation, and other national bird initiatives.

Partners for Implementation: Urban Green Lab, UBTP Core Group, Nature Centers, Metro Departments

Engage property owners in a bird-friendly yard recognition program (e.g., National Wildlife Federation’s Backyard Certification Program) to work toward a significant number of recognized or certified yards.

Partners for Implementation: Habitat Connection, Green Smart Yard Program

Promote and provide educational opportunities for landscapers and garden centers/nurseries to learn about the detrimental effects to birds and other wildlife of exotic plants (nandina, bush honeysuckle, privet).

Partners for Implementation: Nature Centers, Cheekwood, Tennessee Invasive Plant Council

Work with interested parties such as veterinary clinics, Metro government, and rescue organizations to educate about the critical importance and advantages of keeping cats indoors.

Partners for Implementation: BSN 

Action 3.5.1.

Engage community members in community science programs such as Christmas Bird Count, Great Backyard Bird Count, City Nature Challenge, Project Feeder Watch, Globe at Night, and/or other long- term local bird monitoring programs that incorporate dBird, eBird and/or iNaturalist.

Partners for Implementation: Nature Centers, Nashville TOS, Cumberland River Compact, Audubon, Metro Nashville Public Schools, Tennessee Chapter of the International Dark Skies Association

Engage community members in Purple Martin migration roost monitoring and education.

Partners for Implementation: BIRD Program, Nashville TOS

Engage community members in bird collision monitoring to identify hazardous buildings that result in high mortality rates.

Partners for Implementation: Audubon, BIRD Program

Educate the public about birds’ full annual cycle through public banding, MOTUS, and other research projects across multiple parks.

Partners for Implementation: Nature Centers, BSN

Download a PDF version here.

Join our mailing list