United Airlines and Audubon International team up to Save Owls in San Francisco


May 17, 2019

CONTACT:         Christine Kane, CEO

                          (518)767-9051 Ext. 114 | christine@auduboninternational.org

United and Audubon International expand successful raptor relocation network to the Bay Area to relocate at-risk barn owls to safer habitats

SAN FRANCISCO, May 17, 2019– United Airlines today strengthened its emerging reputation as the world’s most environmentally conscious airline by announcing that the carrier is again teaming up with Audubon International to expand the successful Raptor Relocation Network to its premier West Coast hub, San Francisco International Airport. Through the program wildlife biologists will trap raptors – primarily barn owls – residing near the airport and resettle these birds of prey at suitable golf course habitats where the species are more likely to thrive.

United initially partnered with Audubon International to launch the Raptor Relocation Network in 2017 at Newark Liberty International Airport, where it has successfully resettled more than 80 birds – including several American kestrels, a species of concern in New Jersey. United will now work in tandem with Audubon International and San Francisco airport officials to resettle the barn owls and other at-risk species at Bay Area golf courses certified within the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. As an official sponsor of the PGA Tour, United is uniquely positioned to help connect wildlife professionals at airports with the suitable golf course habitats identified by Audubon International for relocations and to help inform the public on the importance of environmental sustainability.

United’s expansion of the Raptor Relocation Network follows the airline’s recent announcement in San Francisco that the company has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050. United’s pledge to reduce emissions by 50% relative to 2005 represents the equivalent of removing 4.5 million vehicles from the road, or the total number of cars in New York City and Los Angeles combined.

“Being environmentally conscious means more than just reducing our footprint; it means convening different groups to develop new and innovative ways to actively protect vulnerable species that otherwise may face increased risks due to our collective impact on their habitat,” said Janet Lamkin, United’s president of California. “As we continue our commitment to protect raptors in the New York area, we are excited to expand our efforts to San Francisco and further underscore our industry-leading efforts to operate sustainably and responsibly.”

“Audubon International is excited to be working with United Airlines’ Eco-Skies program to expand the Raptor Relocation Network to the West Coast,” said Christine Kane, Audubon International’s chief executive officer. “Thousands of golf courses across the world have adopted environmentally sustainable property management practices that support wildlife habitat through our Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. Bringing this all together to provide safe, high-quality habitat for raptors is a great success.” 

United’s Award-Winning Eco-Skies Program

United’s award-winning Eco-Skies program represents the company’s commitment to the environment and the actions taken every day to create a sustainable future. In 2017, Air Transport World magazine named United the Eco-Airline of the Year for the second time since the airline launched the Eco-Skies program. Last year, United Airlines ranked No. 1 among global carriers in Newsweek’s Global 500 Green Rankings, one of the most recognized environmental performance assessments of the world’s largest publicly traded companies.

For more information on United’s commitment to environmental sustainability, visit united.com/ecoskies.

About United

United’s shared purpose is “Connecting People. Uniting the World.” We are more focused than ever on our commitment to customers through a series of innovations and improvements designed to help build a great experience: Every customer. Every flight. Every day. Together, United Airlines and United Express operate approximately 4,900 flights a day to 355 airports across five continents. In 2018, United and United Express operated more than 1.7 million flights carrying more than 158 million customers. United is proud to have the world’s most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates 779 mainline aircraft and the airline’s United Express carriers operate 569 regional aircraft. United is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 193 countries via 28 member airlines. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter and Instagram or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol “UAL”.

About Audubon International

Audubon International is a not-for-profit environmental organization dedicated to providing people with the education and assistance they need to practice responsible management of land, water, wildlife, and other natural resources, thus leading to more sustainable communities. To meet this mission, the organization provides training, services, and a set of award-winning certification programs for businesses including golf courses and lodging facilities as well as entire communities.

For more information, contact us at 120 Defreest Drive, Troy, NY 12180, (518)767-9051, acsp@auduboninternational.org, or visit the website at www.auduboninternational.org.


  1. Gary Fujino on May 22, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    Sirs: I just read that United Airlines is moving barn owls that live near the SFO airport to other locations.

    By coincidence, I just installed a barn owl structure in my backyard. No barn owls have taken up residence here yet.

    I would be more than willing to have a barn owl nest here!

    Please let me know if you need locations for your displaced owls.

    FYI: I am an information booth volunteer at SFO


    I live in the suburb of Belmont, CA just about 15 miles south of SFO airport on the peninsula.

    My owl structure is on a metal pole about 10 feet above the ground.

    I can send you a picture if you wish.

    Gary Fujino
    2313 Wooster Avenue
    Belmont, CA 94002


    • Kat Findlay on June 10, 2019 at 12:59 pm

      Thank you for your comment and interest in our Raptor Relocation Network! At this time Audubon International’s RRN is relocating raptors from airports in the program to Audubon International certified golf courses. We will be continuing to post updates about the program on our website, and social media pages, so we encourage you to stay tuned!

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