Migrant Stopover IBA's:

Hooded Warbler

Migrant Stopover IBA's are sites that regularly host large concentrations of warblers and other migrant species in the spring and fall.

Sites that shelter high concentrations of migrant landbirds and/or sites that are important due to their isolation from other areas with similar habitat will be reviewed.

The Importance of Migrant Stopover Sites:

Although these sites may or may not qualify for breeding birds, they may be very important for warblers, thrushes, flycatchers, vireos, sparrows, and other birds that migrate through Illinois. Migrant birds can travel considerable distances during the night (and into the day). Their continued survival is highly dependant upon the availability of food at the locations where they stop to rest between flights and upon the availability of necessary cover to avoid predators and elements of natures.

Isolated sites are surrounded by areas with little migrant bird habitat. They provide food and shelter for migrating birds that would otherwise not be present. Without these sites, birds must either exert undue energy to continue further or stop at a site with little food, decreased cover, and increased threat from predators.

Complex or Corridor sites are large sites that provide sustenance to great numbers of migrants, such as the Chicago Lakefront, a river corridor or very large tract of woodland or forest (20,000 acres or more).

The Chicago Lakefront is a prime example of an important Migrant Stopover Site. The stretch of parks along Lake Michigan act as a haven for the thousands of birds that migrate up and down the Lake Michigan Flyway each year. The Chicago area is also heavily developed, increasing the vital role that these small green spaces play in the survival of birds.

For more details about Bird Migration along Lake Michigan, see this Green Paper produced by the Bird Conservation Network.

Deciding Whether to Nominate a Site:

The IBA forms have a column entitled “Significant If At Least” which is developed from state high count information. If your totals exceed these for 15 or more of the species listed, or you have observed an exceptional number of rare species, the IBA Technical Committee would like to review your data.

Nominating a Migratory Stopover site:

The IBA Technical Committee will review historical data of high counts at the site during multiple years, and/or data from a series of visits in one year. Most preferred is a series of at least 3 counts from ’06, and high counts from up to 2 additional years in the last five years.

To submit historical high count data, use the “5 Year Form”
At least three years of high counts from within the last 5 years are preferred. For each species, record the highest number of birds you observered at the site on any one day during that year. These counts can come from multiple observers, please note that on the form.

To submit data from a series of visits in 1 year, use “1 Year Form”
At least three visits of at least 2.5 hours in length (starting near sunrise) are preferred. Only submit data from the days with the highest numbers of migrants. Visits should preferably be spaced out in order to show that the site routinely has large numbers of migrants during the course of the season.

Instructions for both forms
- Please enter data for all species that you can. Data will be accepted from the time period between April 1 and May 31.
- Please be sure to describe your site and the surrounding landscape at the end of the form.

Nomination Forms:

(Save the files to your computer BEFORE filling them out!)

Below are two sample forms filled out for the Elsen's Hill Unit of West DuPage Woods F.P., an exemplary site for migrants in DuPage County:

Contacting Us / Submitting Forms:

If you have questions, please contact the IBA coordinator (see below.) Send completed forms by fax, mail or email to:

Rebeccah Sanders
Audubon Chicago Region
1718 Sherman Avenue #210
Evanston, IL 60201
Phone: 847.328.1250
Fax: 847.328.4146