Saving Important Bird Areas

Protecting the places birds need most

Burrowing Owl, adult and chicks, Denver, Colorado Photo: Fi Rust/Audubon Photography Awards

From the open waters of the Pacific Ocean to the arid shrub-steppe east of the Cascades, Washington boasts incredible landscape diversity and a multitude of habitats for birds. Not surprisingly, the bird life of Washington is equally diverse, with over 500 species represented.

Audubon Washington has used the best available science to identify sites across our state that provide essential habitat for breeding, wintering and migrating birds. This effort is known as the Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program and is part of a global effort spanning more than 100 countries on every continent. The program’s goal is to identify sites that are critical to birds across their life cycle and to focus stewardship efforts on protecting these areas. Audubon Washington launched its IBA program in 1998 and has since identified a total of 75 IBAs. Today, these places are protected through hands-on stewardship and advocacy by our statewide chapter network.

Audubon also released an interactive map that allows users to explore marine IBAs in the Pacific Flyway. The map extends from the icy Beaufort Sea along Alaska's north coast to the tropical seas of Mexico's Baja Peninsula.

Washington IBAs are stewarded by the Audubon network of chapters. Audubon's conservation stewardship manual Cooking Up Conservation Success was developed to help inspire and guide Audubon chapters, other local stewardship groups, and partners in how to protect and conserve these priority places. This collection, featuring 25 recipes from all four flyways, is a product of a collaborative effort led by Audubon's Science division, with contributors from across the Important Bird Areas conservation network, including national and state Audubon staff, chapter leaders and partner organizations.

Landowners and managers, planners, and the public can learn more about the IBA program by searching Audubon Washington's IBA database for specific information about individual sites. To request spatial data for IBAs, please fill out our request form.

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