The Important Bird Area (IBA) Program of Audubon New York, in cooperation with a host of partners, has identified 136 critical bird breeding, migratory stop-over, feeding, and over-wintering areas in the state. Important Bird Areas have been identified throughout New York in all types of habitats, including forests, shrub/scrub, grasslands, freshwater and saltwater wetlands, and bodies of water. Since 1997 Audubon New York has been engaged in many efforts aimed at achieving conservation successes at IBAs. These efforts include several types of conservation actions, conservation planning, bird monitoring, and education and outreach.
To qualify as an Important Bird Area, sites must satisfy at least one of the following criteria. The site must support:
1. Species of conservation concern (e.g. threatened and endangered species)
2. Range-restricted species (species vulnerable because they are not widely distributed)
3. Species that are vulnerable because their populations are concentrated in one general habitat type or biome
4. Species, or groups of similar species (such as waterfowl or shorebirds), that are vulnerable because they occur at high densities due to their congregatory behavior
IBA (Important Bird Area) vs. BCA (Bird Conservation Area)
The New York State Bird Conservation Area Program was established in 1997 to safeguard and enhance bird populations and their habitats on State lands and waters. The goal of the Bird Conservation Area (BCA) Program is to integrate bird conservation interests into agency planning, management and research projects, within the context of agency missions. The BCA Program is modeled after the National Audubon Society’s Important Bird Areas (IBA) program, which began in New York in 1996. The BCA Program applies criteria developed under the IBA program to state-owned properties. To date, fifty-two BCA sites have been designated, including 20 in New York State Parks.
Opportunities to Help Important Bird Areas
Nominate a site or organize volunteers to fill out nomination forms for sites in your area.
Organize or participate in a bird survey at an IBA or potential IBA for a WatchList species.
Adopt an IBA and help to develop a conservation plan for the site in partnership with IBA staff and local stakeholders.
Volunteer for a project to restore habitat or eradicate invasive species at an IBA.
Advocate for land acquisition funds for an IBA where land acquisition is underway.
Recruit and organize volunteers to help an IBA managed by a refuge, State Park, or land trust.
Advocate for changes in laws and policies that would benefit birds of concern at IBAs.
Participate in a Christmas Bird Count in or near an IBA.
Develop a birding field trip program to IBAs in your area.
Develop a slide show or children’s education program to teach people about an IBA and the amazing bird stories connected with it.
Write articles and letters about IBAs in newsletters, magazines, newspapers, and other outlets to teach the public about the important bird habitats in their area.
Follow the Audubon At Home guidelines for a healthy yard, and encourage habitat management that is beneficial to the birds of concern at that IBA.
Help provide financial support to an IBA program