Audubon’s Important Bird Area (IBA) Program has recognized 14 IBAs in the Eastern Sierra, out of 174 IBAs in the state of California. The IBAs in our county include those meeting the State Criteria, as well as three which meet Global IBA criteria, marked with an *asterisk.
The IBA criteria are divided into four categories based on vulnerability and/or responsibility. By definition, Important Bird Areas are sites that support:
- Species of conservation concern (e.g. threatened and endangered species)
- Range-restricted species (species vulnerable because they are not widely distributed)
- Species that are vulnerable because their populations are concentrated in one general habitat type or biome
- Species, or groups of similar species (such as waterfowl or shorebirds), that are vulnerable because they occur at high densities due to their congregatory behavior
Note that these are areas important to birds, not necessarily to birders. Important Bird Areas are not always synonymous with birding hotspots – to see those, check our Birding Hotspots and Eastern Sierra Birding Trails pages.
You can view a Interactive map of California IBAs to find locations and more information about each (updated regularly).
NOTE: the “Learn More about this IBA” links appear to be broken as of July 2013.
Important Bird Areas in Inyo and Mono Counties:
- Adobe Valley (Mono County)
- Argus Range – Southern (Inyo County)
- Bridgeport Valley (Mono County)
- *Crowley Lake Area (Mono County)
- Deep Springs Valley (Inyo County)
- *East Mojave Peaks (Inyo and San Bernardino Counties)
- *Mono Highlands – aka the Bodie Hills and Glass Mountains(Mono County)
- Mono Lake Basin (Mono County)
- Owens Lake (Inyo County)
- Owens River (Inyo and Mono Counties)
- Shoshone-Tecopa Area (Inyo County)
- Sierra Meadows – Northern (Alpine, Amador, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Sierra Counties)
- Sierra Meadows – Southern (not technically in Inyo or Mono counties, but many close and accessible from here)
- Southern Sierra Desert Canyons (Inyo and Kern Counties)
- Topaz Lake Area (Mono County)
* meets Global IBA criteria
Check our Field Trips page for information on trips in our region. In the past, we’ve had trips to many of the above IBAs, including Owens Lake and River, Mono Lake and Mono Highlands, the Argus Range, Crowley Lake Area, Deep Springs Valley, and Shoshone-Tecopa Area, among many others.
We have two Owens Lake Big Days annually, one in spring and the other in early fall, and these provide a chance to participate in citizen science as we monitor the bird populations in this IBA.
For great birding at Mono Lake and Mono Highlands, the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua is an awesome annual event to enjoy and learn about the birds in these Important Bird Areas. Also check with the Mono Lake Committee, which often offers additional field trips in the area throughout the year.
Shoshone-Tecopa has a self-guided birding trail and you may find out more about that area and any field trips offered at Birds of Shoshone Wetlands or Shoshone Birding (from the Shoshone Village website)