Project Description

Important Bird Areas

What is an Important Bird Area?

Important Bird Areas, or IBAs, are sites that provide essential habitat for one or more bird species. IBAs include sites for breeding, wintering, and/or migrating birds. IBAs may be a few acres, but they are usually sites or landscapes that stand out from their surroundings.

To qualify as an Important Bird Area, sites must satisfy at least one of the following criteria. The area must support:

  • Species of conservation concern (e.g., Cerulean Warbler, Henslow’s Sparrow, etc.)
  • Species that are vulnerable because their populations are concentrated in one general habitat or biome type (e.g., Wood Thrush, Dickcissel, etc.); also termed “responsibility species”
  • An outstanding example of a representative or rare habitat type
  • Species, or groups of similar species, that are vulnerable because they occur at high densities due to their congregatory behavior

The identification of IBAs in Indiana is an important first step in this bird conservation initiative.  Species IBA inventories provide a scientifically defensible method for prioritizing conservation action and allocating limited conservation dollars to ensure maximum benefit to birds.

The Marian University EcoLab — An IBA Test Site

The Marian University EcoLab, a 50-acre wetland restoration located on campus in Indianapolis, has been designated as a test site for the Indiana IBA Program.

With support from the Amos Butler Audubon Society, Marian University and the Cold Springs Elementary School staff designs and implements on-site educational and habitat restoration programs. Such outreach events include bird hikes and surveys, owl prowls, restoration work days, and bird identification and natural history workshops. These programs facilitate local engagement of volunteers and docent naturalists in the IBA program.

More information about the EcoLab and a list of upcoming events can be found HERE.

Indiana IBAs

Site Name (does not connote boundaries) Principle County Criteria
1. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Porter Species of concern; habitat; congregations
2. Kankakee Sands/Willow Slough Newton Species of concern; habitat; congregations
3. Jasper–Pulaski FWA Jasper Congregations of species
4. Pigeon River FWA Lagrange Species of concern; congregations
5. Pine Creek Gamebird Habitat Area Benton Biome-restricted species; congregations
6. Shades State Park/Pine Hills Montgomery Species of concern; responsibility species
7. Scott Starling Sanctuary Marion Responsibility species; habitat
8. Summit Lake State Park Henry Responsibility species; congregations
9. Chinook Mine Vigo Species of concern; responsibility species
10. Minnehaha FWA/Goose Pond Sullivan Responsibility species; habitat
11. Lake Monroe/associated marshes Monroe Species of concern; congregations
12. Hoosier National Forest Monroe Responsibility species; habitat
13. Muscatatuck NWR Jackson Species of concern; congregations
14. Big Oaks NWR Ripley Species of concern; responsibility species
15. Gibson Lake/Cinergy Power Plant Gibson Species of concern; congregations