What is the Important Bird Areas Program?
Proactive, not reactive; Voluntary, not regulatory; Participatory, not
just for professionals; Science-based and credible.
IMPORTANT BIRD AREAS PROGRAM
Audubon, as the
is working to identify a network of sites that provide critical habitat
for birds. This effort known as the Important Bird Areas Program (IBA)
recognizes that habitat loss and fragmentation are the most serious
threats facing populations of birds across America and around the world.
By working through partnerships, principally the
North American Bird
to identify those places that are critical to birds during some part of
their life cycle (breeding, wintering, feeding, migrating) we hope to
minimize the effects that habitat loss, and degradation have on bird
populations. Unless we can slow the rapid destruction and degradation of
habitat, populations of many birds may decline to dangerously low
levels. The IBA program is a global effort to identify areas that are
most important for maintaining bird populations, and focus conservation
efforts at protecting these sites. In the U.S. the IBA program has
become a key component of many bird conservation efforts, for example:
Partners in Flight,
North American Waterbird
What is an Important Bird Area?
Important Bird Areas, or IBAs, are sites that provide essential habitat
for one or more species of bird. IBAs include sites for breeding,
wintering, and/or migrating birds. IBAs may be a few acres or thousands
of acres, but usually they are discrete sites that stand out from the
surrounding landscape. IBAs may include public or private lands, or
both, and they may be protected or unprotected.
qualify as an IBA, sites must satisfy at least one of the following
criteria. The site must support:
- Species of
conservation concern (e.g. threatened and endangered species)
Restricted-ranges species (species vulnerable because they are not
- Species that are
vulnerable because their populations are concentrated in one general
habitat type or biome
- Species, or
groups of similar species (such as waterfowl or shorebirds), that
are vulnerable because they occur at high densities due to their
Identification of a site as an IBA
indicates its unique importance for birds. Nonetheless, some IBAs are
of greater significance than others. A site may be important at the
global, continental, or state level. The IBA identification process
provides a data-driven means for cataloging the most important sites for
birds throughout the country and the world.
Oklahoma IBA Program
History of OK IBA Program:
- March 4th,
2006 OK IBA Program Proposed. The Audubon chapters in
Oklahoma meet to reactivate the state-wide Oklahoma Audubon Council.
As its first major project, the Council decides to pursue the
formation of an Oklahoma IBA program.
- July 22nd,
2006 OK IBA Steering Committee Formed. Oklahoma Audubon
Council meeting was attended by Lynn Tennefoss, from Audubon Society
Members Services office and John Cecil, coordinator of the Audubon
Important Bird Areas program. John Cecil discussed the IBA program
and agreed to assist in the organization of the Oklahoma IBA
- October 21st,
2006 OK IBA Coordinator Selected. At the Fall OOS meeting,
it was announced that Eric Beck had been selected by the Oklahoma
Audubon Council as the coordinator for the Oklahoma IBA program.
This is currently a volunteer position as we do not yet have funds
to pay a salary.
- November 2006 ~
February 2007 Technical committee members recruited.
- February 24th,
2007 First joint meeting of the OK IBA Technical and Steering
committees. Potential IBA sites were discussed and the plan for
the year was laid out.
OK IBA Technical Committee Members
Dan Reinking - GMSARC, OU Biological
Michael Patten - GMSARC, OU Biological
Mia Revels - Prof. NE State (Swainson's
Chris Wilson - TNC Nickel Preserve
Doug Wood - Prof at SEOSU, lots of
research around the Tish NWR
Michael Husak - Prof at Cameron Univ.
Donald Winslow - Prof at St. Gregory's in
Mark Howery - ODWC
Berlin Heck - Past Director at Little
River NWR/ Expert in SE region
Tim O'connell - Prof at OSU, OOS
Laurie Gillum Biologist, Teacher
Steve Hodge Wichita Mountains NWR
Julianne Hoagland - ODWC
Major goals for 2007 are:
- Identify a
minimum of four Global IBAs.
- Obtain funding
for the program.
knowledge and awareness of the OK IBA program.
participation in the OK IBA program.
Chair - OK IBA Steering Committee
Oklahoma Audubon Council