Want to get involved in an exciting citizen science project? Read more about how you can help monitor North Carolina's irreplaceable bird habitats.
Audubon North Carolina (ANC) is leading the way in bird conservation in North Carolina. Our long-standing commitment to our coastal sanctuaries, cooperative research, education, and advocacy has coalesced into a major project known as the Important Bird Area (IBA) Program.
Under this program, ANC, with the help of chapters, governmental agencies, concerned individuals, and other conservation groups, identifies sites across the state that support significant populations of bird species of special conservation concern. To date, over 90 sites have met the stringent criteria established to determine if a site qualifies as an Important Bird Area.
One of the goals of the IBA project is to identify those areas that are indeed unique across the state. Some may support a large part of the total state or regional population of a species, others may host a wide variety of species of conservation concern. ANC biologists work hard to establish inventories of the known data on an IBA, as well as conduct inventory and monitoring projects in established and nominated sites. With close to 100 sites and over 4,300,000 acres of habitat, the job is enormous.
But you can help!! If you like to hike, bird watch, or participate in citizen science projects like Christmas Bird Counts or Breeding Bird Surveys, you can help us monitor the birds in our state’s IBAs. And if you don’t think you are qualified to identify or count individual birds, we still need your help.
By following the steps outlined below, you can add to our knowledge and understanding of what species occur in our IBAs, how many there are, and monitor how changes in the landscape within those IBAs affect those populations. For example, many of our IBAs are comprised of public and private lands. It is helpful to the study and conservation of these IBAs for us to know if development or timbering is occurring in the area, how much of that change is occurring, and if there are conservation opportunities for ANC to pursue by working with landowners or policy makers and land managers.
So if you want to make a contribution to bird conservation efforts in North Carolina, please join us in this effort to monitor our state’s Important Bird Areas. Whatever your skill level, you can contribute important information to make our bird conservation activities more focused and more successful!
How to help
If you are familiar with one of our IBAs, simply follow the directions outlined below. If you are unsure about where IBAs are, our blog and read the Important Bird Area publication at the bottom of the page. To help you understand the process a little better, the checklist that follows will assist you in gathering information on your IBA or preparing, completing, and submitting your data or information.
[ ] Pick an Important Bird Area you are interested in.
[ ] Contact Curtis Smalling at email@example.com or 828-265-0198 to discuss how you can help. You might be able to help by setting up routes or points in that IBA (some IBAs already have established point count locations that need volunteers to repeat counts), building a list of larger property owners or managers within the IBA, monitoring changes within the IBA, or providing staff with presence/absence lists from your favorite parts of the IBA. Practically any activity regarding birds in an IBA can become part of the Adopt an IBA program!
[ ] Familiarize yourself with Audubon North Carolina’s data forms and methods.
[ ] Conduct your counts (if applicable) within the specified dates and with the specified methods.
[ ] Make a copy of the data sheets for your records.
[ ] Enter your data on-line with the appropriate program.
[ ] Mail hard copies of your information to Curtis Smalling at 667 George Moretz Lane, Boone, NC 28607 or email information to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three Types of Information
To make it clear what we need as we work to preserve habitats and birds in our IBAs, we have consolidated your volunteer efforts into three broad categories. These are
- presence/absence data,
- conservation information and advocacy, and
- quantitative bird counts.
You may participate in any or all of these core areas - and we need folks in all three!
- Ways to Help
- Ways to Give to Audubon North Carolina
- Volunteer to Help Birds and Wildlife in Our State
- Adopt an Important Bird Area
- Become a business sponsor of Audubon NC
- Birds and Wildlife Need You!
- Cardinal Club Monthly Giving Program
- Treasure Highlands connects volunteers with conservation opportunities
- Bird Friendly Communities
- T. Gilbert Pearson Society
- Volunteer opportunities for helping Forest birds