IBA Monitoring Priorities – Delta Marsh

Our second in the series of IBA monitoring priorities looks at the needs around Delta Marsh IBA. After a few exchanges on Facebook recently regarding the boundary of the Delta Marsh IBA, it seemed like a good time to use this site for the next blog.

Delta Marsh, made famous by a combination of Delta Waterfowl and one of North America’s leading bird banding stations, is known for large and diverse populations of birds. Many birdwatchers visit the IBA during spring migration to check the ridge for migrant songbirds on their route north. What is most impressive are the large concentrations of waterbirds, especially ducks and geese. In addition, the marsh has been known as a place for marsh birds such as Yellow Warbler and Common Yellowthroat.

On the south edge of Lake Manitoba, the IBA includes Ambroise Beach and Delta Beach.

You can see a pdf of the IBA boundary by clicking on the link below:


and a Google map here:


Fall migration is probably the key period at Delta Marsh for both diving (Canvasback, Redhead, Lesser Scaup) and dabbling (Mallard, Gadwall, American Wigeon, and Northern Pintail) ducks.  Around 100,000 waterfowl have been detected during aerial surveys. Canada Geese and Snow Geese also stage in large numbers in spring and fall. The beaches are also good places to monitor shorebirds such as Sanderling and Ruddy Turnstones. Western Grebe are a significant breeding and staging species.

According to the original IBA citation, the following are priority species:

  1. Black-crowned Night-Heron
  2. Forster’s Tern
  3. Snow Goose
  4. Mallard
  5. Western Grebe

18_Artuso_Western Grebe_7872_adult and juv

The original citation also highlights the globally important populations of waterfowl. Other IUCN-listed species such as Rusty Blackbird and Horned Grebe are also worthy of paying special attention.

Donna RUBL

The internationally threatened Rusty Blackbird in all its rusty glory. Photo copyright Donna Martin

The monitoring priorities for 2016 are:

  • Complete checklists to be entered into eBird. If possible these checklists should follow the IBA Protocol.
  • Prioritise counting large flocks of waterbirds.
  • Enter any birds counted outside the IBA under the IBA Protocol while ensuring the eBird point is not in the IBA
  • Add checklists of count of non-target species encountered during other events e.g. fall hawk watches, Nature MB birding trips
  • Do not be afraid to include monitoring in some areas outside the IBA, especially Lake Francis to the east but make sure any birds recorded outside the IBA are listed on separate checklists.

delta iba protocol

For anyone interested in learning a bit more about how to do this, there will be a short walk and talk on May 14th as part of the International Migratory Bird Day (see here).

I can provide a larger printed version of the map and include roads, etc for anyone who requests it. Please use the contact details provided on this website.