Black-throated Blue Warbler Photo: Kenneth Cole Schneider / FlickrCC
Nearly 200 species of songbirds, waterfowl, raptors, marsh birds, and shorebirds migrate across the Great Lakes relying heavily on nearshore habitat to provide refuge along the way. The sheer size of the lakes present an initial hurdle in the fall and final hurdle in the spring for many of these long distance migrants. Through our Great Lakes initiative, Audubon has prioritized conservation activities aimed at the important coastal stopover habitat for migratory birds and that support other wildlife. Stopover sites are places for birds to rest, refuel, and seek shelter during their bi-annual migration, the most perilous stage of a bird’s lifecycle.
In the face of urban and agricultural sprawl, the quantity of natural stopover habitat is decreasing, and the quality of remaining native cover is declining as invasive species disrupt habitat structure and food sources. In coordination with the Chicago office, Audubon’s national science team has refined existing tools such as Audubon’s climate data and Important Bird Areas, the Great Lakes Migratory Bird Stopover Portal, and radar data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to identify the places where we can make the most efficient use of limited conservation dollars for habitat restoration that includes considerations of climate resiliency and sustainable future management.