The Grange Insurance Audubon Center is an agent of conservation. The Scioto Audubon Metro Park is housed in the Scioto River-Greenlawn Important Bird Area (IBA). This designation requires us to protect and enhance the ecosystem to sustain critical bird species.
The Important Bird Area Program:
The Important Bird Area (IBA) program is a global initiative started by Birdlife International in the mid-1980’s that quickly spread to every continent. In the United States, the National Audubon Society launched the Important Bird Area program in 1995. The main idea: to identify, monitor and protect a strategic global network of IBA’s that can focus bird management around priority sites.
The first step in the process is identifying these areas. To do this, a series of scientifically sound criteria were developed. In general, a site must have one of the following. 1) It holds a significant number of high conservation priority species 2) It holds range-restricted species that are vulnerable because their populations are not widely distributed. 3) The site holds species that specialize in one specific habitat type or biome. 4) The site is important because it supports species that are vulnerable because they congregate in large numbers.
Once identified, IBA’s are further prioritized as a Global, Continental or State level site. To date in the United States, over 2,676 Important Bird Areas have been identified, equaling almost 370 million acres. Of these, 596 are of global significance and 13 are of continental significance. The Ohio IBA program began in 1999 and 66 state level IBA’s have been identified.
Today, Ohio’s IBA program is entering an exciting time! Audubon and partners are beginning to work to prioritize the IBA’s identified across the state and raise awareness. All need additional information on the status of their bird species and involvement of ordinary citizens as advocates and citizen scientists! So consider this a call to action! As the program grows, there will be many ways you can help!
Our Urban IBA!
Urban, yet important! At least 212 bird species have been recorded at this IBA. It provides habitat for Neotropical songbirds, is a migrant trap for warblers, and is a nesting site for Prothonotary Warblers. Plus, it functions as a hunting ground for Peregrine Falcon. The Scioto River-Greenlawn IBA has historical importance as a breeding area for Yellow-crowned Night-Herons, a high conservation priority species. It also provides habitat for high priority species that use riparian corridors such as the Pied-billed Grebe, American Bittern, Northern Pintail, Osprey, at least 10 species of gulls and terns, Northern Waterthrush, and many other warbler species.
Natural areas are increasingly being altered for human usage. In the US alone, it is estimated only 3-5% of our land remains undisturbed and truly wild. As urban areas expand, it will be increasingly necessary for us to manage them in a way that benefits humans and wildlife.
Within the Scioto-Audubon Metropark, and the entire Scioto River-Greenlawn IBA, we aim to improve our stopover site for birds and other wildlife. Restoration is occurring, targeting reducing and removing invasive plants and restoring native plants. The primary objective of our bird monitoring is aimed at evaluating the long term effects of our habitat management and data collected will increase our understanding of the condition of migration species and breeding bird productivity and survivorship.
So if you are interested, come have an outdoor adventure and become a citizen scientist! Bird monitoring and restoration activities continue year round!