Important Bird Areas (IBAs)

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The National Audubon Society partnered with Birdlife International continues to identify areas in the United States that are important for birds. These Important Bird Areas (IBA) cover numerous habitat types and millions of acres that birds, as well as other animals, depend on.

The table below shows the number of IBAs and acres identified in the U.S

IBA PriorityNumber of IBAsAcres Encompassed
Global720330,526,301
Continental11318,939,577
State1,99967,937,805
Total2,832417,403,683

Illinois has identified 90 IBAs, up from 48 when we wrote about this in 2006. Winnebago County still has zero which is odd, however my nearby county of McHenry has three two. One was delisted.

One of these areas was designated for its breeding population of Swainson’s Hawks. This is an area in walking distance from my house in the country.

These designations are important because it helps promote the areas better and leads to greater protection. Some of the areas are lacking any real protection whatsoever, yet they are crucial for birds, even if only as migratory stopover points.