The North American Bluebird Society Grants Program
The NABS mission is broadly stated on the first page of every issue of our journal, Bluebird: “NABS, Inc. is a non-profit education, conservation, and research organization that promotes the recovery of bluebirds and other native cavity nesting bird species of North America.” Accordingly, NABS sponsors an annual competitive grants program in support of that mission.
The NABS by-laws mandate the Zeleny Fund wherein monies are put aside and are to be used only for the purpose of supporting grants. The by-laws further dictate that the Society can award grants in three areas: research, conservation, and education. The purpose of this article is to give some guidance on the three types of grants and how individuals might apply for a NABS grant.
All NABS grants must be submitted in Adobe (.pdf) format via email () and all grant applications should be no longer than ten pages in length (including any letters of recommendation and resumes).
Research Grants. Grants for research projects are competitive and all applications are invited via a Request for Proposals (RFP) that is published annually in the summer issue of Bluebird and on the NABS website (www.nabluebirdsociety.org). The RFP details precisely the format and time schedule for submitting a competitive grant proposal. The deadline for submission each year is November 1st and awardees will be notified of their selection before February 1st of the next year. Broadly speaking two kinds of research grants are recognized: 1) pure research grants which examine some aspect of bluebird (or other native cavity nesting species) biology, ecology, or life cycle (e.g., a study of nestbox parasites on chick health) or, 2) applied research grants (e.g., finding more effective ways of defeating nest box predators). Regardless of whether the grant falls in the category of pure or applied research the same basic elements of the scientific method must be evident in the proposal. The proposal must clearly state the research question (or hypothesis) and it must show a thoughtful design which has proper controls, a sufficient number of replications (i.e., power) and other quality assurance measures are in place so that conclusions can be verified by some kind of statistical (simple or advanced) analysis. A proposed project budget as well as how much support is requested from NABS is required. It is important that the proposal directly show how it addresses the NABS mission as stated above. Research grants are scored by the NABS grants committee which gives award recommendations to the Board of Directors. Any questions about research grants mentioned in the RFP can be addressed by email () prior to an application submission. A request for proposals (RFP) for the current grant season can be found here (PDF)
Education Grants Support for ideas pertaining to the development of books, fact sheets, pamphlets, DVDs or other video products, or other kinds of media which can serve the purpose of educating either members and/or the public about bluebirds and bluebirding (as well as other native cavity nesting species) can be submitted to NABS to for consideration as an education grant. The applicant for an education grant must clearly outline the details of the project and show how they think it addresses NABS mission. The proposal must provide the names and affiliation of the project developers and also show a project budget including all funding sources as well as the support requested from NABS. Letters of recommendation will enhance the application. Education grants can be submitted at any time and they will be evaluated for award by the NABS education committee. The committee will give recommendations for funding the proposal to the Board of Directors.
Conservation Grants Proposals that deal with a broader scale issue related to bluebird recovery may be candidates for a NABS conservation grant. For example, NABS recently participated in the funding of a three-year project to re-introduce Western Bluebirds to an area of North America where they had been extirpated. Other examples might be considered for a NABS conservation grant. Like other grants, the applicant for a conservation grant must clearly define the project and show how its goals would further NABS mission as stated above. The proposal must provide the names and affiliation of the project developers and also show a project budget including all funding sources as well as the support requested from NABS. Letters of recommendation will enhance the application Conservation grants can be submitted at any time and they will be evaluated by an ad hoc committee from the Board. The committee will give recommendations for funding to the Board of Directors.
The North American Bluebird Society (NABS) is searching for and considering worthy grant proposals relating to the study of bluebirds and other native cavity-nesting species in North America. All interested individuals are encouraged to write to us at the email address indicated below. Download a description of the Grants Program (PDF)
Instructions for NABS Research Grant Applications
Guidelines for the 2019 North American Bluebird Society (NABS) competitive research grants program are detailed below. To apply please submit a ten (10) page proposal package including the items outlined below before November 1, 2018. Award notices will be issued by February 1, 2019. Questions about this RFP can be addressed to: .
- Cover letter (This letter or email is not included in the 10-page proposal limit).
- Grant proposal (arranged with the following sections):
- Project Title
- Principle Investigator Information: Name, phone, email, mailing address, and the affiliation of the applicant. Student applicants please include a faculty advisor or institute official.
- Introduction: Background and supporting information or justification for the proposal.
- Project Motivation The hypothesis or question(s) which this research project addresses and, very important, explain how you think this research addresses the NABS mission.
- Research Protocol
- The cavity nesting species of interest;
- Methods (e.g., study design, quality assurance, power, & methods of analysis);
- The study location(s);
- Permits (assurance that required permits at state or federal levels are in place);
- Timeline (start/finish for field/lab work, analysis, and final report dates anticipated);
- Literature Cited;
- Detailed budget: please include other funding sources and the amount requested from NABS.
- Letters of Support (2 for student applications, 1 for faculty applications),
- Curriculum vitae (for the principle investigator)
Proposals must be submitted by November 1, 2018 via email to:
All items should ideally be combined into a single Adobe (.pdf) document. A single MS Word (.doc or.docx) document is acceptable but most Word versions will save as .pdf. The PI’s last name should appear at the top right corner of each page, and each page should be numbered bottom center.
Please restrict the application to a maximum of ten pages (letters of recommendation can be short and pithy!).
Projects to build, maintain, or upgrade a bluebird trail are not eligible for NABS research grants unless they are being established for research purposes. In addition, assurances must be given that such trails will be adopted by a trail monitor, taken down, or inactivated after the research project has been completed.
Grant recipients are expected to submit a report to NABS summarizing the project results within 90 – 120 days after the completion of the project.
NABS’s mission is stated on our website: http://www.nabluebirdsociety.org/
NABS Ver.3, 4/18/2018
Instructions for NABS Research Grant Application
Thank you for your interest in the North American Bluebird Society (NABS) research grant program. To be considered for funding, please prepare a proposal packet that includes the following items:
I. Cover letter
II. Grant proposal (required content):
A. Project Title
B. Name, contact information (phone, email, mailing address) and affiliation of applicant
D. Project motivation (e.g., what question(s) will this research project answer, what theory is being tested or what are the expected results?)
E. Anticipated benefit as it relates to the mission of NABS (please be specific).
F. Research Protocols
2. Cavity-nesting species of interest
3. Study location
4. Any permits required
6. Literature Cited
G. Detailed budget, including other funding sources and the amount requested from NABS.
III. Letters of support (2 letters required for students, 1 letter required for other applicants).
IV. Brief biography of the investigators, including educational achievements.
The proposal must be submitted by November 1st, via email, to
All items must be combined into a single pdf document. (Free conversion software is available online at www.cutepdf.com) If you do not have access to software to create a pdf, a single Word document is acceptable. Applicant’s last name should appear at the top right corner of each submitted page and each page should be numbered at the bottom/center of each page.
Please restrict the file to a maximum of 10 pages.
Please be advised that projects to create or maintain small or individual bluebird nestbox trails are not eligible for NABS grants unless they are being established for research purposes, or unless they are a part of a larger scale, long-term bluebird conservation effort (e.g., establishment of bluebird trails on golf courses or public parks) and if assurance can be provided that the project will continue to receive support and active supervision for the life of the trail. Such supervision would include assuring that proper nestbox trail management will be practiced and trail productivity reported to the appropriate organization. Likewise, assurances must be given that all nestboxes will be removed if the project is terminated for any reason.
Grant recipients are expected to submit progress reports periodically and to submit a report summarizing project results within 3 months of project completion. Recipients may be asked to summarize project details and results for submission to the NABS Journal.
Background Information: NABS Grants are funded by an endowment named for our founder, Dr. Lawrence Zeleny. The Zeleny Fund was established to award educational, conservation or scientific grants or other grants which further the purpose and mission of the society, to promote the prosperity of bluebirds and other native cavity-nesting species and to engage in such pursuits as may be beneficial to the prosperity and well-being of the three species of bluebirds and to other native cavity-nesting bird species in North America. NABS contributes a portion of Life Membership fees directly into the endowment and encourages further donations to the Zeleny Fund in order to help finance worthy research.
Policy: NABS accepts and reviews grants once each year. The deadline for grant submission is November 1st. Every effort is made to complete the review process by February 1st. Priority is given to research regarding bluebirds, but grants involving all native cavity-nesting birds will be considered on their merit. Since 2007, NABS grants have been awarded for research pertaining to Eastern, Western and Mountain Bluebirds, Prothonotary Warblers, Barn Owls, American Kestrels, Purple Martins, and Red-headed Woodpeckers. Grants have ranged from $500 to $5,000 with an average of approximately $1,800 to date. It is NABS policy that “overhead” expenses be limited to no more than 2% of the requested grant amount.
Grant applications: Please email grant applications (and questions) to Bernie Daniel, NABS Grant Committee at
The New York Bluebird Society also contributes funds to the NABS Grant program. Since the NYSBS has a representative on the NABS Grant Committee, they are involved in the evaluation stage prior to grant decisions. This cooperative approach is available to other affiliates interested in supporting research on cavity nesting birds. Affiliates can contact the Grants Committee Chair for more information.