Massachusetts Important Bird Areas
Important Bird Area is a site that provides essential habitat to one or
more species of breeding, wintering, or migrating birds. Important Bird
Areas generally support high-priority species, large concentrations of
birds, exceptional bird habitat, and/or have substantial research or educational
|Northern Harrier. Photo by Roger S. Everett.|
IBA Criteria Categories
Category 1: Sites regularly holding significant numbers of an endangered,
threatened, vulnerable, or declining species.
Category 2: Sites regularly holding significant numbers of species of high
conservation priority in Massachusetts.
Category 3: Sites where birds concentrate in significant numbers in the breeding
season, in winter, or during migration.
Category 4: Sites containing assemblages of species characteristic of a representative,
rare, threatened, or unique habitat within the state or region.
Category 5: Sites important for long-term research and/or monitoring projects
that contribute substantially to ornithology, bird conservation, and/or
may be protected or unprotected, public or private. The sites may vary in
size but are usually discrete and distinguishable in character, habitat,
or ornithological importance from surrounding areas. Site boundaries may
be either natural (e.g., rivers, watersheds) or human-made (e.g., roads,
property boundaries). In general, an IBA should exist as an actual or potential
protected area or should have the potential to be specifically managed for
IBA, whenever possible, should be large enough to supply all or most of
the needs of birds during the season for which the IBA is important. (Not
all IBAs, such as "flyover" sites for raptors, can or will meet
this last definition.)
site that meets any one of the criteria in the following five categories
may qualify as an Important Bird Area, and some sites may meet several
criteria. These criteria should not be considered absolute; other factors,
such as relative importance compared to other sites, may be considered
when making the final site selections. The fifth category, Important Bird
Research Areas, is included to cover sites that are important to bird
conservation because of the research done there. The criteria for what
constitutes an IBA in Massachusetts were developed with the help of a
committee of bird experts
from throughout the state.
Also see "Nominations Process."