[CT Birds] An update on the IBA program

Folsom-O'Keefe, Corrie cfolsom-okeefe at audubon.org
Fri Feb 24 09:33:14 EST 2012

Dear CTbirding Community,

  Recently, a link to the CT Important Bird Areas (IBAs) web page was posted to this list.  This webpage is pretty out of date, so I thought I would provide you with an update.

  There are currently 27 recognized IBAs in Connecticut.  These IBAs were announced between 2001 and 2004; since then we have been working to collect data necessary to identify additional areas that are of high value to bird species.  To be recognized as an IBA, nominated sites must meet specific scientific criteria.  Sites with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), federally or state listed species are often identified as IBAs, as are sites with high numbers of birds of species listed on Audubon's Watchlist, as Partners-in-Flight or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Bird Conservation Regions (BCR) 14 and 30 priorities, or in the Connecticut Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS).  In addition, sites with larger concentrations of birds, those that have a history of scientific research or are key areas for outreach to local communities may be considered as IBAs.  I am hoping to make a call for nominations later this year with the goal of identifying 15 new IBAs by 2013.   

   Over the past several years, Audubon has partnered with The Yale School of Forestry, CT Agricultural Experiment Station, CT Dept. Energy and Environmental Protection, UCONN Cooperative Extension and other organizations to collect data on bird species presence and abundance in the highlands of CT and more recently in the greater New Haven area.  This summer we will continue to collect data in the New Haven area during spring migration as well as during the breeding season.  We are actively encouraging members of the birding community to enter their sightings into ebird.org, especially in areas of the state that are not known birding destinations.    

    In addition to collecting data, Audubon Connecticut and its partners, including the Trust for Public Land, local land trusts, the CT DEEP, USFWS, COA, New Haven Bird Club, Connecticut Audubon Society (CAS), Hartford Audubon Society and others, have been able to play a supporting role in several major conservation projects at Connecticut's IBAs, including the restoration of Long Beach West, acquisition of over 200 acres adjacent to Barn Island Wildlife Management area, several key additions to the Salt Meadow Unit of Stewart B. McKinney NWR and the protection of Menunketesuck Island in Westbrook.  Audubon CT and its partners have also received and are working to acquire funds to further our knowledge of birds and restore habitat at recognized IBAs.   This past summer, we surveyed the entire CT coastline for nesting American oystercatchers.  We will continue to monitor oystercatcher this year as well as, in partnership with CAS, assist the CT DEEP, USFWS, and The Nature Conservancy in piping plover and least tern monitoring.  More recent restoration projects include enhancements to the bird and butterfly garden at Lighthouse Point State Park, removal of invasive plants and replacement with native shrubs at the Salt Meadow Sanctuary, reseeding at Northwest Park, and the development of a Habitat Oases Demonstration Site surrounding the playground area of Cove Island Park.  Audubon CT staff are also providing consultation on the Stewart B. McKinney and Silvio O. Conte National Refuges Comprehensive Conservation Plans. Lastly, the IBA conservation plans for the Bent of the River and Naugatuck State Forest were recently completed; the plan for Falkner Island is nearing completion; and a plan for the Bafflin Sanctuary is underway.  

  If you have any questions about the IBA program, please feel free to contact me.  Thank you for you time.

Most Sincerely,

Corrie Folsom-O'Keefe

IBA Program Coordinator
Audubon Connecticut

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