Featured Important Bird Area:
Francis Beidler Forest, South Carolina
Audubon's Francis Beidler Forest has been an Important Bird Area since 2001. In 2008 it was also designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, further highlighting the need to protect this vital resource from threats including sprawl. The site boasts over 15,000 acres and is a popular resting stop for many thousands of birds that migrate to South Carolina after wintering in South America. A number of these species are on Audubon's WatchList and Common Birds in Decline, including the strikingly-colored Prothonotary Warbler, prolific in this particular area.
One of Beidler Forest's most unique features is the largest remaining virgin forest of bald cypress and tupelo gum trees in the world, including 1500 year-old trees long vanished from the rest of North America. It is able to support a unique number of species, including large numbers of colonial waterbirds, such as the Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Little Blue Heron, Great Egret, Anhinga and White Ibis. Over 25 years of spring breeding bird survey data reveal this site also hosts some of the most dense nesting populations of song birds in the Eastern US, with nesting Hooded Warbler, Swainson's Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Kentucky Warbler, and Yellow-billed Cuckoo, to name a few.
The center has been key in Audubon's mission to connect people with nature, with an educational visitor center, 1.75-mile boardwalk trail (both are wheelchair accessible), several hiking miles of old logging roads and a canoe trail on which guided trips are led, providing visitors the chance to explore deep into the swamp’s interior.
Click on the arrows or plus and minus signs on the interactive map below to move around or zoom in or out and explore this site even further:
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For more more on this and other Important Bird Areas, click here.
"IBAs have the unique power to unite people, communities, and organizations in proactive bird conservation, one place at a time"
- Frank Gill, Senior Board of Directors, National Audubon Society