Birders are generally nature-oriented; however, their understanding of key bird conservation issues remains under-examined. We surveyed English-speaking birders online and face-to-face, asking questions related to their views on conservation, conservation funding and their understanding of a global bird conservation programme (BirdLife International’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas [IBAs]). Most birders who responded to the survey were from Australia, the United Kingdom, South Africa and the USA. Birders tend to value bird conservation in an ecocentric way, often citing the overarching importance of general biodiversity. The ecological roles that birds play were also highlighted, but this varied across socio-demographic groups. Despite their positive support for conservation, less than half of all birders surveyed were familiar with the IBA programme. Familiarity with IBAs was driven by socio-demographic factors, with males more familiar than females and South African birders more familiar than birders from Australia and the United Kingdom. Most birders are willing to make contributions to bird conservation when visiting key birding sites, however they also feel governments should remain the main funders of conservation. Opportunities to enhance engagement between birders and bird conservation groups exist with most indicating a desire to learn more about bird conservation at birding sites. Increasing access to relevant information and presenting opportunities to contribute to conservation at birding sites could provide tangible benefits for bird habitats, protected areas and bird conservation groups.