Audubon Important Bird Areas

by National Audubon Society

The Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program is the focal point for Audubon’s bird conservation work. As a global effort to identify the most important places for bird populations and to focus conservation efforts on those sites, IBAs represent Audubon’s lead conservation initiative because the most severe threats to bird populations are habitat-based. The program is particularly important for species of high conservation concern like those on Audubon’s WatchList, for species with restricted ranges, for species that are restricted to one habitat type or biome, and for species that congregate in large numbers during some portion of the year.

The IBA Program engages individuals, private landowners, local communities, and government agencies, creating a networked community of supporters who work to monitor, restore, conserve, and watch over these important habitats for birds and other wildlife. These sites may be National Wildlife Refuges, National Parks and other public, protected lands, but they also often include working farms, ranches, reserves, local parks, and private lands.

How will IBAs help birds?

Audubon’s Important Bird Areas Program helps birds by setting science-based priorities for habitat conservation and promoting positive action to safeguard vital bird habitats. The IBA Program offers opportunities to engage volunteers in monitoring and conservation projects at IBAs, promoting local stewardship and advocacy.

Conservation activities at IBAs reflect the unique circumstances of each site (e.g. size, location, and ownership). For example, public areas may be conserved by open-space acquisition and by working with land managers to improve habitat management practices for key species of birds. Private lands may be conserved through public-private partnerships such as easements, and through landowner education.

The identification of IBAs is an important first step in larger bird conservation initiatives, such as the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI). In cooperation with its partners, Audubon and the IBA Program contribute to this initiative by identifying the most important sites at which to implement large-scale conservation efforts to ensure the protection of all bird species in all habitats.

Learn more about Audubon's IBA Program

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