A SERVICE OF THE OUTDOOR WIRE DIGITAL NETWORK
WEDNESDAY, JULY 10, 2019
Migrating birds like these Snow and Rossís Geese benefit from IBAs as important stopover sites, wintering areas, and nesting habitats.
IBAs protect important habitat for many birds, such as colonial nesting birds and wading birds like Great Egrets.
IBAs are especially important for neotropical songbirds like Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.
Important Bird Areas Across the Nation
If you’re looking for a new birding hotspot in season, Audubon’s Important Bird Areas (IBAs) are a great source to check out in your search. Plus, all birders should be aware of IBAs, in your state, surrounding states, and nationally, for they form an impressive network of conservation sites for birds, including expansive lands that support important habitats for birds and other wildlife. To date Audubon has identified 2,832 IBAs covering 417 million acres of public and private lands in the United States. You will be familiar with many of these IBAs, as some are already protected as national parks, refuges, preserves, and more – some are small and some expansive – but all are significant!
Among the high-priority Global IBAs are places like New York City’s Jamaica Bay, sites on Alaska’s Arctic Slope, and coastal bird sanctuaries in Texas, the Everglades, and the Mississippi Delta. Our exciting variety of birds depend on a diverse range of habitats, and the threats that confront them are equally varied.
Obviously, this is a network of extremely important lands for birds and Audubon takes the conservation and protection of these significant IBAs seriously, but they have not acted alone. In addition to working on a state by state basis through their Audubon staff and chapters, Audubon has collaborated with 19 international partners to extend a web of protection throughout the Western Hemisphere and with BirdLife International, which is centered in Europe with a global reach.
In short, of the 2,832 North American IBAs, 720 are considered of global importance, 113 are listed as continental importance, and 1,999 are of state importance! How many IBAs are listed for your state? At the bottom of this IBA webpage, you can look up the list of Important Bird Areas state by state under the heading “Explore IBAs Near You,” which is most interesting and informative, at https://www.audubon.org/important-bird-areas/ and you can refer to a wealth of other information via links throughout this IBA webpage. There are also a number of ways you can get involved with the Important Bird Area efforts in your area. You are probably already familiar with a number of the IBAs in your state, and we hope you will plan a visit to an IBA new to you soon.
Article and photographs by Paul Konrad
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