Audubon’s Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program identifies and conserves a network of sites essential for maintaining the long-term viability of wild bird populations and other biodiversity.
These areas of high conservation concern host species with restricted ranges, species that congregate in large numbers during some portion of the year, and species restricted to one habitat type or biome. Specific criteria utilized by Audubon California to identify and map IBAs include:
- Support over 1% of the global or 10% of the state population of one or more sensitive species
- Support more than nine sensitive bird species
- 10,000 or more observable shorebirds in one day
- 5,000 or more observable waterfowl in one day
Developed in the 1980s by BirdLife International, it is a global effort to identify areas most important for bird populations, and to focus conservation efforts on those sites. As the U.S. Partner for BirdLife International, Audubon has identified more than 2,500 IBAs in 47 states. In California, 145 IBAs provide more than 10 million acres of essential habitat for breeding, wintering, and migrating birds. San Diego County contains 13 of these sites, which include coastal lagoons, river systems, montane meadows, chaparral habitats, and desert ecosystems.
San Diego Audubon has active conservation projects in the following Important Bird Areas:
- Mission Bay - San Diego River Estuary
- San Diego Bay
- Tijuana River Reserve
- San Diego NWR Otay-Sweetwater Unit