Manitoba is home to some of the most outstanding sites in the world for concentrations of birds. The importance of these sites to the maintenance of the world’s bird populations is recognized internationally through their designation as Important Bird Areas (IBAs).
The Important Bird Areas program, initiated by BirdLife International in the 1980s, came to Canada in 1996 and is coordinated nationally by Nature Canada and Bird Studies Canada. The Canadian IBA Program identifies, monitors and protects the most essential places in Canada for birds so that conservation action can be directed in the most effective way possible. There are nearly 600 Important Bird Areas across Canada that provide habitat for threatened birds, large groups of birds, and birds found almost nowhere else on Earth.
Since 1985, over 200 countries have joined to create a global network of more than 10,000 IBAs. Visit www.birdlife.org for more information on the global program and www.ibacanada.ca for more information about Canadian IBAs.
Why are IBAs important?
For birds, IBAs are the most important places on earth to breed, feed, rest and overwinter. Migrating birds rely on IBAs in many countries at every stage of their amazing journeys. Because migratory birds know no borders, an international program such as the IBA program is essential to sustain them.
The Important Bird Areas Program is non-regulatory and many IBAs lack any formal protection. The program identifies areas that are important for birds and works with local communities, landowners, individuals and organizations to ensure that people and birds can co-exist in these areas.