Ornithological Summary

With its buttressed bald cypress trees and coffee-colored water, the habitats encompassed by the Point Township Bottomlands Important Bird Area are reflective of those associated with the Deep South; not coincidentally, this IBA also supports some of the most unique avifaunal communities in Indiana, including species whose ranges are typically restricted to locales south of the state?s borders.

Primary examples of this phenomenon include Yellow-crowned Night-Herons and Mississippi Kites, both of which have been found within Twin Swamps Nature Preserve during the summer months of recent years. Yellow-crowned Night-Herons, which are mostly observed in the southwestern quadrant of Indiana, have declined precipitously in the state over recent decades, and the environs within Point Township may represent one of the last refuges for these birds during the breeding season. The Mississippi Kite, another bird associated with more southerly locales, is also a very rare breeder in Indiana, with only two or three confirmed breeding pairs each year ? one pair of these birds likely nests around Twin Swamps.

The bottomlands and swamps of Point Township also serve as critical foraging areas for post-breeding congregations of wading birds. The deeper and more open waters of Hovey Lake are especially used by these groups; Great Egrets, which are listed on the state?s registry as a species of special concern, can typically number over 600 individuals at Hovey during the month of August.

Additionally, the flooded forests of this IBA support significant breeding populations of several declining WatchList species. Red-headed Woodpeckers and Prothonotary Warblers are especially numerous during the breeding season throughout the palustrine woods of Point Township, and nesting pairs for each species likely total over 100 pair.

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