Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
Northern Harrier flying
Northern Harrier © Kyle Wilmarth

Important Bird Area: Longmeadow Flats

Map of the Longmeadow Flats IBA site

Nominated By

George Kingston


1,170 acres

Towns and Counties

Longmeadow; Hampden


municipal, private, non-governmental organization

Major Habitats

cultural grassland, cultivated field,, emergent freshwater marsh, palustrine wooded swamp, lake/pond, river/stream, MSS

Land Use

nature and wildlife, conservation/ land trust, agriculture/livestock, utility/ right-of-way, undeveloped

Serious Threats

introduced animals/feral pets

Minor Threats

non-native invasive plants, water/air pollution, disturbance to birds or habitat

IBA Criteria

  • Category 1: Sites important for long-term research and/or monitoring projects that contribute substantially to ornithology, bird conservation, and/or education.
  • Category 2: Sites containing assemblages of species characteristic of a representative, rare, threatened, or unique habitat within the state or region.
  • Category 4: Land Birds: The site is an important migratory stopover or seasonal concentration site for migratory land birds (e.g., warblers). Sites may also qualify on the basis of supporting exceptionally high densities of breeding species as shown from point counts or other surveys or if they represent "migrant traps" relative to surrounding areas. Strong consideration will be given to areas with consistently high overall species diversity..
  • Category 5: Waterfowl: The site regularly supports 500 or more waterfowl at any one time. The designation "waterfowl" includes birds such as loons, grebes, cormorants, geese, ducks, coots, and moorhens.

Site Description

This IBA is riverine floodplain forest and field habitat along the eastern bank of the Connecticut River, and it is one of the few remaining natural floodplain habitats in Massachusetts. The area is subject to periodic flooding that is representative of this habitat. It includes bordering swamps, ponded water, vegetated wetlands, meadows that are maintained by mowing, hardwood forest, sandbars, riverbank, and an island.

Current Conservation Status

Ownership is divided among the Fannie Stebbins Wildlife Refuge, the town of Longmeadow (including much conservation land), and private owners (including homeowners, farmers, and a yacht club). This site is within the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge. A portion of this site has been designated as a National Landmark.

Ornithological Significance

At least eight endangered, threatened, or special concern species use this site on a regular basis. Of these species, five have either breed on the site or include the IBA as part of their breeding territory on a regular basis. At least seven other species of high conservation priority are common breeders on this site. There are large numbers of wading birds, especially egrets and herons, during fall migration. This site has one of the highest concentrations of breeding Wood Ducks in western Massachusetts. The IBA supports a high diversity of land birds, including 227 regularly occurring species and 49 species that have been recorded at least once. Christmas Bird Counts and spring bird census data have been continuously recorded since 1951. The Allen Bird Club conducts more than a dozen bird walks at Longmeadow Flats each year.

Other Flora or Fauna of Significance

Endangered, threatened, and special-concern flora include: Winged Monkey-flower, Narrow-leaved Spring-beauty, Slender Blue-eyed Grass and Wild Black Current.

Data Sources

not listed.