2017 Waterbird Counts

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas Program

The Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA) Program is a program that works to identify, monitor, and conserve the world’s most important sites for birds and biodiversity.  Sites are designated using a science-based approach which sets criteria and thresholds for trigger species.  In Canada IBAs are triggered mainly by threatened species, and significant congregations of birds.  The exemplary IBA Caretaker Network (started in 2006 in B.C.) took off in Ontario in 2013.  Caretakers are volunteers who monitor bird populations, report on threats to IBAs, work with partners on stewardship activities, and help build community awareness about the importance of IBAs.

Lower Detroit River Important Bird and Biodiversity Area

The globally significant Lower Detroit River IBA which extends from the north end of Fighting Island to the mouth at Lake Erie, is important for congregations of birds and waterfowl. Ring-billed Gulls were originally a trigger species (in 1990 there were 34,021 pairs, 3.9% of the North American population on Fighting Island).  Recently the gull colony has changed, but Canvasbacks still occur in significant numbers (in 2015, birders counted 9000 along the IBA, 1.7% of its global population)!  The IBA is also a winter home to many Redheads and Common Mergansers.  Pollution of the river and surrounding wetland areas is the main conservation concern due to the high population along the river (Windsor, Detroit, LaSalle, Amherstberg).  Fortunately, organizations such as the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup and the Essex County Field Naturalists’ Club are taking action to protect the area. 

2017 Waterbird Counts

On January 28th 2017, BSC and volunteers counted a total of 23 species and 4,391 individual birds (4,098 of them waterfowl). Numbers for trigger species of the IBA were 1,565 Canvasbacks, and 1,790 Redheads!

Stay tuned for the February 25th 2017 results!

Waterbird Count Gallery

Get Involved!

From tree plantings and clean ups, to advocacy and education programs, CLICK HERE to find out how you can be involved with protecting and enhancing the Detroit River.