What is an IBA?

What is an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area?

(description from IBA Canada)

Important Bird Areas (IBAs) are discrete sites that support specific groups of birds: threatened birds, large groups of birds, and birds restricted by range or by habitat. IBAs range in size from very tiny patches of habitat to large tracts of land or water. They may encompass private or public land, and they may or may not overlap partially or entirely with legally protected sites.

IBA is a designation created by BirdLife International to recognize specific sites that have international significance for the conservation of bird populations, their habitats, and biodiversity.

Canada’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas Program is a science-based initiative to identify, conserve, and monitor a network of sites that provide essential habitat for Canada’s bird populations.

Nature Canada and Bird Studies Canada are the national partners that helped identify approximately 600 sites starting in the 1990s using a set of standardized and scientific criteria.  They have also helped find local caretakers and create conservation plans for many of these sites.

The IBA designation is having increasing influence in conservation planning.  Local caretakers (individuals or groups) carry out activities such as regular monitoring, restoration projects, public education and advocacy for protection.