Important Bird Areas

Iroquois NWR/Oak Orchard and Tonawanda WMAs

New York

Otherwise known as the ?Alabama Swamp,? this complex encompasses
nearly 20,000 acres of protected wildlife habitat; approximately 70%
of the site is wetland habitat. There are also grassland and forest
habitats. Approximately 1,400 acres are managed as grasslands. The
surrounding area is mainly agricultural. Iroquois National Wildlife
Refuge (10,800 acres) is owned and managed by the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, while Oak Orchard (2,500 acres) and Tonawanda
(5,600 acres) Wildlife Management Areas are administered by the
NYS DEC.

Ornithological Summary

This important site for breeding and migratory waterfowl hosts an
estimated 100,000 waterfowl every spring. The area also supports
many at-risk species, including the Brant (casual migrant), American
Black Duck (breeds), Pied-billed Grebe (breeds), American Bittern
(breeds), Least Bittern (breeds), Osprey (breeds), Bald Eagle (breeds),
Northern Harrier (breeds), Sharp-shinned Hawk (breeds), Cooper?s
Hawk (breeds), Upland Sandpiper (two singing males in 2001),
American Woodcock (breeds), Black Tern (breeds), Short-eared Owl
(winters), Whip-poor-will (casual migrant), Red-headed Woodpecker
(breeds, year round resident), Willow Flycatcher (common breeder),
Sedge Wren (breeds), Wood Thrush (common breeder), Blue-winged
Warbler (breeds), Golden-winged Warbler (rare breeder), Cerulean
Warbler (breeds), Prothonontary Warbler (rare breeder, one individual
in 2001), Yellow-breasted Chat (three males during the 2002 breeding
season), Grasshopper Sparrow (breeds), Henslow?s Sparrow (three
singing males in 2001 and 2002), and Rusty Blackbird (migrant). All
migratory species that breed at this site also use it during migration.
The site has also supported a large Great Blue Heron rookery.
Mixed species 49,348 ind. in 2004,32,002 in 2003,41,954 in 2002,51,122 in 2001,62,776 in 2000.

Conservation Issues

Biological controls have successfully reduced the amount of purple
loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) on the refuge. Portions of this site have
been designated a state Bird Conservation Area. Maintenance of the
grassland habitats is encouraged. Continued inventory and monitoring
of non-game wetland and grassland birds, especially at-risk species,
is recommended. During the first round of IBA site identifications,
this site was recognized under the research criterion because it is a site
where long-term research and monitoring projects are based.