Bird Areas >
of the IBA
a powerful new tool that will allow birders to find IBAs
in a particular area or with particular species and allow
the conservation community to aggregate IBAs by threat,
region or other IBA characteristics in order to more easily
plan conservation activities.
a dozen states working with national staff towards prioritizing
Global IBAs. This prioritization will assist Audubon in
our conservation planning efforts.
a review of Important Bird Areas significant to waterbirds
and landbirds of conservation concern, which can help in
linking conservation planning efforts for these species
recognized in a number of states through public events in
Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana,
Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon,
activities initiated in two new states, Hawaii and Oklahoma,
bringing the total of state IBA programs to 48.
recognized through public events in Arizona, Colorado,
Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland,
Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, Wisconsin
online IBA database was released to all staff in 2005 and
approximately a quarter of all states are taking full advantage
of the new application
IBA coordinators or Bird Conservation Directors were hired
in Arkansas, Arizona, Indiana, Virginia, and a staff member
added at the national IBA program level.
programs have been part of the foundation for the newly
emerging Mississippi River Campaign and IBA staff from throughout
the region have participated in the development of this
IBA Program was a key component of the first ever Audubon
Chapter Leadership retreat at the Hog Island Camp in Maine
and a featured symposium at the Audubon Ohio Assembly. Additionally,
IBAs were recognized through public events in Illinois,
Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon,
between Audubon and the Land Trust Alliance, the U.S. Shorebird
Conservation Initiative, the Waterbird Conservation for
the Americas Initiative, the U.S National Ramsar Committee,
and the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network have
all been strengthened in 2005 with a focus on IBAs.
the IBA Database
new IBA staff in Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey,
North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin
Magazine began featuring an IBA in each issue with the Pawnee
National Grasslands in Colorado appearing in the December
2003 issue, http://magazine.audubon.org/auduboner/auduboner0312.html
the Third IBA Conference in Port Aransas, Texas. Over 70
people attended the meeting, including 36 state IBA coordinators,
20 other Audubon staff, and representatives from state agencies,
Joint Ventures, and BirdLife International
in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Over 120 people attended the first
truly Western Hemisphere IBA Conference. Attendees represented
43 U.S. states and 16 countries from Canada to Argentina.
Of particular interest was the presence of nearly 12 delegates
working at key IBAs in Mexico, with a special emphasis on
bi-national ecosystems and regional and international IBA
IBA program partnered with General Electric to support projects
at IBAs using volunteers from GE Elfun clubs. These clubs
include employees and retirees of GE plants and are located
in most cities that have GE plants. Three projects have
been completed in Connecticut and one in North Carolina.
Two projects are underway in Ohio.
with state agencies continued – approximately 15 states
have received funding for their IBA programs through State
Wildlife Grants, and for a few states this is a significant
source of support.
LOCAL SUCCESS STORIES
Audubon launched a pilot small grants program to provide
funding to chapters to pursue bird surveys at local IBAs.
Projects must involve a one day bird survey (focusing on
four to six species of conservation concern) during fall
migration 2001 or winter 2001-2002.
Colorado IBA program has conducted two youth service projects
hosted by the Audubon Society of Greater Denver. The first
occurred at Denver City Park Lakes in partnership with EDUCO
(an environmental education non-profit organization). Twelve
young people worked on a horticultural project at the park,
and also participated in environmental education activities.
Denver City Park Lakes is a Colorado Important Bird Area,
primarily based on the Black-Crowned Night-Heron and Double-Crested
Cormorant colonies it hosts. The second IBA Youth Project,
involved 4th and 5th graders removing noxious weeds and
reseeding the area with native grasses. This project occurred
at Chatfield Sate Park, also an Important Bird Area. Students
were rewarded for their hard work with a guided nature hike
through the park.
Connecticut secured protection of a privately owned
IBA, Menunketesuck Island in Westbrook, as part of Stewart
B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. The IBA is important
for nesting Piping Plover and Least Terns, migrant Red
Knot and other shorebirds.
efforts by Audubon Connecticut have led to the conversion
of a 10-acre undeveloped area of Cove Island Park in Stamford
into a bird sanctuary by the City of Stamford, with funding
provided by a $400,000 grant from the State of Connecticut.
Audubon worked with the city in planning the proposed
bird sanctuary, and has also worked with over 200 GE Elfun
Volunteers and other stakeholders on three habitat
restoration projects, including the construction of
nature trails, planting native vegetation and installation
of nesting boxes for Purple Martins and Eastern Screech
Owls, as well as helping to organize a field day at the
Park with 500 students from a local elementary school.
Audubon Chapters and Affiliates assist in monitoring, maintenance
and education efforts at IBAs and also observer training
seminars both at IBAs and other locations. Training seminars
are being planned as a cooperative effort with the Connecticut
Ornithological Association. The first event is scheduled
to be a winter gull identification seminar sponsored by
the COA and Hartford Audubon.
June of 2002 Connecticut Audubon is planning a birding by
ear seminar in conjunction with COA and Litchfield Hills
programs will include Hawk/birds in flight ID seminars at
Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven and Quaker Ridge in Greenwich.
In addition to creating awareness about birds and the IBAs
at which these events take place, it is hoped that they
will add to the foundation of trained observers necessary
for future monitoring programs.
addition to the recent designation of sites as IBAs in Delaware
(White Clay Creek State Park and Preserve, Pea Patch Island,
and the Delaware Coastal Zone). Members have also participated
in a number of clean ups, one occurring at White Clay Creek
State Park IBA.
Audubon Chapter and Canyon Birders have contributed to Idaho’s
IBA program by leading weekly field trips to monitor shorebirds
at Mann Lake IBA. They began this monitoring in the fall
of 2000 and repeated it again in the fall of 2001 The information
collected will be forwarded to the International
Mississippi is assisting the Lower
Mississippi Valley Joint Venture
with a citizen science effort to monitor
throughout the alluvial valley of the lower river states.
Much of the monitoring in Mississippi will occur at nominated
Important Bird Areas. This monitoring effort will assist
researchers in estimating the number of shorebirds migrating
through the valley (now estimated at 500,000 birds each
fall) and help them learn more about the habitat needs of
Mississippi, along with its partners, is developing a long-term
conservation initiative involving the Pascagoula River and
associated habitats. The Pascagoula is the largest free-flowing,
essentially unfragmented river system in the lower 48 states.
The river and the bottomland hardwood forest along it, much
of which is public land, provide a protected corridor for
migrating songbirds, nesting and roosting habitat for swallow-tailed
kites, and habitat for a variety of wading birds. Several
candidate IBAs have been nominated along the Pascagoula
Montana signed a 10-year license to protect 442-acres of
cottonwood habitat near Kalispell. Located at the confluence
of the Stillwater and Flathead Rivers, this area serves
as key open space for the Kalispell community and it has
been nominated as an Important Bird Area.
Montana is developing and implementing a management plan
for the Owen Sowerwine Natural Area IBA located in the Flathead
Valley. This area is a magnet for wildlife given mix of
wetland and upland habitats. In addition this IBA contains
important habitat for 10 priority.
New York continues to pursue conservation efforts at several
IBAs through advocacy, education and outreach. Efforts are
being advanced by working cooperatively with local groups
and landowners on various issues at Hamlin Beach State Park,
Montezuma Wetlands Complex, The Great Swamp, Whiskey Hollow,
Finger Lakes National Forest, Niagara River Corridor, and
Sterling Forest State Park.
successes include averting plans to clad an observation
tower at the Niagara River Corridor in reflective glass
(which is dangerous to birds). At Sterling Forest State
Park, plans to manage for valuable succession habitats were
included in the park's master plan. At Montezuma Wetlands
Complex, $2.5 million of Lands and Water Conservation Funds
were attained for habitat acquisition and restoration. ß
Buffalo Audubon Society has created and marketed a birding
trail to promote ecotourism throughout the Niagara River
Corridor IBA and the Iroquois NWR Area IBA.
Valley Audubon Society is working proactively on avian monitoring
and conservation strategies for The Center at Horseheads
Audubon Society is working with and has contributed money
to Save The County land trust to acquire and protect habitat
at Whiskey Hollow IBA.
New York City area chapters have been working hard on conservation
issues at Jamaica Bay IBA.
Valley Audubon Society has been working with Audubon New
York on advocacy related to the potential for drilling for
natural gas in the Finger Lakes National Forest IBA and
on outreach to the land managers and public at the Rochester
Area Urban Parks IBA.
Adirondack High Peaks Audubon chapter is working with Vermont
partners on water bird monitoring and assessment on Lake
Champlain area IBAs.
North Carolina, working with the Highlands Plateau Audubon
Society, initiated a long-term project to monitor
populations on the Highlands Plateau IBA, an area important
for species such as the Blackburnian Warbler, Golden-crowned
Kinglet and Rose-breasted Grosbeak. These studies will help
in understanding how the development and growth in the surrounding
areas impact birds, especially the ones that are highly
dependent on the forests, mountains and streams around Highlands.
Vermont’s IBA Program received funding from the Wharton
Trust and the Sweet Water Trust to support ongoing monitoring
efforts at IBAs, as well as to develop and enhance citizen
science based monitoring programs. To this end, Audubon
Vermont has conducting an IBA Wetlands Monitoring Workshop
at the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area IBA with invited
chapter representatives and interested volunteers. The workshop
combined an overview of the IBA Program in the state with
demonstrations of different monitoring techniques. The demonstrations,
conducted by Audubon staff and local experts, focused on
monitoring birds, reptiles and amphibians and habitats (including
invasives). The goal was to provide the chapter representatives
with an array of monitoring options for their members to
consider and hopefully implement.
Program in Virginia organized 200 local volunteers,
including groups from Philip Morris, Virginia Commonwealth
University, Boy Scouts, DuPont, bird clubs and conservation
groups, at the James River Wetlands in restoring degraded
habitat to native trees and shrubs. Volunteers removed
invasive Johnson grass and planted 3,500 native trees
over the course of a month. At the end of this time, a
recognition event was held at the site, which focused
on the site’s importance as an IBA for Bald Eagle
and Prothonotary Warbler, and recognized the efforts of
the volunteers and partners making the event possible.
to Current Successes