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When Creativity & Conservation Collide

Supporting bird conservation in our backyard, and beyond

We’ve been partners with the legends over at Forest & Bird, New Zealand’s leading independent conservation organisation, for _ years now! It began back in 2020 with an explosive Bird Of the Year collaboration and has thrived ever since, with Metalbird releasing multiple collaborations each year that are thoughtfully designed to raise awareness, support, and contribute proceeds to F&B. It is these consistent contributions that we’re proudest of, as we know that support is critical in enabling their invaluable work.

What kicked it off was simple: Being a company that celebrates and draws inspiration from the native birds of Aotearoa, our responsibility to give back to them in some way seemed obvious, even more so when we considered just how many NZ species are threatened and declining in numbers. And what do you do when you’re a motley crew of creatives seeking to make a positive difference in the complex world of avian biodiversity? You talk to the experts!

We approached Forest & Bird and asked how we could help, and they floored us with their welcoming approach and generous insights. We learned about the increasingly precarious state of our current ecosystem, and how since 1923, F&B has been a constant advocate for the preservation of New Zealand’s environment and native species. They’ve played a crucial role in the fight to end logging in publicly owned forests, a fight that was won to the relief of countless forest dwelling species. They’ve helped to establish conservation protection for a third of NZ’s land mass, and played a large role in preventing the extinctions of both the Kākāpō and Kōkako

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Our initial conversations with F&B gave us a sense of creative purpose and renewed responsibility, and since those early days, we’ve created numerous special edition metalbirds with Forest & Bird! From the Kea to the heavily endangered Kakī, each bird is crafted to raise awareness and contribute 30% of the proceeds to Forest and Bird. We’ve donated over $31,000 since 2020, and we’ve educated over 64,000 New Zealanders on the plight of multiple endangered birds. And while it’s not all fun and games, our creative contributions to F&B’s annual “Bird Of The Year” competition are a true highlight for us!

New Zealand is unique for any number of reasons, but the annual fervour over F&B’s ‘Bird Of The Year’ stands out! Few countries can claim a comparable event, where a large segment of the population passionately engages with bird conservation, and is so clearly invested in the journey to find a winner. There is no better way to illustrate what makes Aotearoa so special, and why we look forward to each and every collaboration with Forest & Bird.

We feel incredibly lucky to be Kiwi’s, and to be surrounded by people who truly care, who engage in conversations about conservation, who support our collaborations with Forest & Bird and make it possible for us to support them. In our time working alongside F&B, we’ve been repeatedly humbled and inspired by your contributions, feedback and enthusiasm for New Zealand’s vibrant, captivating birdlife.

Forest & Bird have been giving nature a voice for decades. With your help, that voice becomes a chorus.

FROM A
BIRD'S
EYE VIEW

Our partnership with Forest & Bird allows us to aid conservation efforts within Aotearoa, but we can’t ignore that there’s work to be done in the wider world.

Birds know no borders. Their migratory patterns span vast distances, transcending boundaries and connecting ecosystems. The challenges they face, such as habitat loss, climate change, and human impact, are not confined to specific regions. With that in mind, it’s crucial that our conservation efforts embrace a global perspective, extending beyond local initiatives and adopting a birds-eye view of the problem.

Regardless of size or location, every effort to safeguard bird species ultimately strengthens the conservation movement and benefits birds everywhere. And the need for effort is staggering: Right now, 49% of all bird species are in sharp decline, one in eight are threatened with extinction, and the extinction of at least 187 bird species has been documented. Bleak as it may be, there is hope. We’re kiwi’s to the bone, we know there is true strength in unity and we believe wholeheartedly in people. In 2022 we felt it was time to put that belief into practice.

Birdlife International is the world's largest conservation organisation, championing the need for bird conservation on a global scale for over a century now. Their 'Preventing Extinctions' programme is a powerful response to the imminent threats faced by bird populations worldwide, inspiring awe and gratitude among conservationists and bird lovers everywhere. It’s difficult to name another conservation group that’s had such an extensive and profoundly positive impact on bird species around the world. Metalbird may be small and young by comparison, but we’ve never shied away from a challenge, and collaborating with Birdlife International presented our biggest, most meaningful one yet.

In 2022, we launched our first collaboration with BirdLife International, a range of 5 critically endangered birds - aptly named the ‘Critical’s Collection’. Each bird in the collection was limited edition, with only 500 created per region to emphasise the scarcity of the real bird populations. 30% of all proceeds were directly contributed to BirdLife International, to support their Preventing Extinctions programme and provide vital action for threatened bird species around the world.

It was our most ambitious project to date, one that challenged us to walk the walk, to put the wellbeing of endangered birds before all else. It also depended on the compassion and support of our audience, something we’re constantly amazed by, but would never take for granted. As a small business owned and operated locally, we didn’t know what to expect..

To say that we were humbled by the response is an understatement.

Not only did we raise $31,675 for BirdLife International, and raise support and awareness on an enormous scale, almost every bird in the Critical’s Collection swiftly sold out. We were able to far exceed our own expectations, thanks to the dedication and generosity of our flock. It felt like a victory, albeit a small one in the face of a much larger fight, and we aren’t shy in admitting that the credit belongs to you, and every other individual who joined us.

The success of our collaboration with BirdLife International served as a reminder of the immense value of global collaboration. By embracing a collective mindset, by putting aside notions of borders and nations, we managed to make a tangible contribution and leave a small but distinct impact. We know the scale of the problem feels overwhelming, in fact, it can seem outright hopeless. But we know firsthand now that there IS hope. A little effort multiplied by thousands can result in a seismic, inspiring shift.

We made some mistakes, we hit some steep learning curves in the process, and we’re better for it. Because we’re doing it again this year, in 2023, and hopefully in the years after that. We’re going to do our best to surpass the amazing results of last year, and we’ll need as much help as we can get - so we’ll keep you updated as we prepare to launch our next Critical’s Collection with BirdLife International. Thank you for everything you’ve done, big or small, to help us make a difference for endangered birds around the world. Here’s to doing it again, bigger, better, and borderless.

It’s on.

You can read about 2022’s Critical Collection in full, right here, and learn more about BirdLife International and their conservation partners here.