The New York State Bird Conservation Area Program was established in 1997 to safeguard and enhance bird populations and their habitats on state lands and waters. The goal of the Bird Conservation Area (BCA) Program is to integrate bird conservation interests into agency planning, management and research projects, within the context of agency missions.
The BCA Program is modeled after the National Audubon Society's Important Bird Areas (IBA) program, which began in New York in 1996. The BCA Program applies criteria developed under the IBA program to state-owned properties. To date, fifty-nine BCA sites have been designated.
Bird Conservation Area Sites
- Adirondack Sub-Alpine Forest Bird Conservation Area (PDF)
- Albany Pine Bush Bird Conservation Area (PDF)
- Ashland Bird Conservation Area
- Bashakill Bird Conservation Area
- Bear Swamp Bird Conservation Area
- Black Creek Marsh Bird Conservation Area
- Braddock Bay Bird Conservation Area
- Buckhorn Island Bird Conservation Area
- Carlton Hill Bird Conservation Area
- Carters Pond Bird Conservation Area
- Catharine Creek Bird Conservation Area
- Catskill High Peaks Bird Conservation Area (PDF)
- Caumsett Bird Conservation Area
- Clay Pit Ponds Bird Conservation Area
- Constitution Marsh Bird Conservation Area (PDF)
- Crown Point Bird Conservation Area
- David A. Sarnoff Pine Barrens Preserve Bird Conservation Area (PDF)
- Eastern Lake Ontario Marshes Bird Conservation Area (PDF)
- Fahnestock Bird Conservation Area
- Harbor Herons Bird Conservation Area (PDF)
- Helderberg Bird Conservation Area
- High Tor Bird Conservation Area
- Iona Island/Doodletown Bird Conservation Area (PDF)
- John Boyd Thacher/Thompsons Lake Bird Conservation Area (PDF)
- Joseph Davis Bird Conservation Area
- Keeney Swamp Bird Conservation Area
- Lake Champlain Marshes Bird Conservation Area
- Lake Ontario Islands Bird Conservation Area (PDF)
- Lake Shore Marshes Bird Conservation Area
- Letchworth Bird Conservation Area
- Long Pond Bird Conservation Area (PDF)
- Minnewaska Bird Conservation Area
- Mongaup Valley Bird Conservation Area
- Montezuma Wetlands Complex Bird Conservation Area (PDF)
- Moreau Lake Bird Conservation Area
- Napeague Bird Conservation Area (PDF)
- Nissequogue River Bird Conservation Area
- Oak Orchard/Tonawanda Bird Conservation Area
- Peconic River Headwaters Bird Conservation Area
- Perch River Bird Conservation Area
- Pharsalia Bird Conservation Area
- Point Peninsula Bird Conservation Area
- Schodack Island Bird Conservation Area
- Selkirk Shores Bird Conservation Area
- South Shore Tidal Wetlands Bird Conservation Area (PDF)
- Sterling Forest Bird Conservation Area
- Three Mile Bay Bird Conservation Area
- Three Rivers Bird Conservation Area
- Tivoli Bay Bird Conservation Area
- Upper and Lower Lakes Bird Conservation Area
- Valcour Island Bird Conservation Area (PDF)
- Vischer Ferry Bird Conservation Area
Additional Bird Conservation Areas at NY State Parks
- Allegany State Park
- Grafton Lakes State Park
- Green Lakes State Park
- Hudson Highlands State Park
- Mills-Norrie State Park/Staatsburg
- Rockland Lake State Park
- Saratoga Spa State Park
According to ECL §11-2001, a site must meet one or more of the following criteria to be designated as a Bird Conservation Area:
1. Waterfowl Concentration Site; a location that regularly supports at least 2,000 birds such as loons, grebes, cormorants, geese, ducks, coots and moorhens.
2. Pelagic Seabird Site; a location that regularly supports at least 100 birds of open water such as shearwaters, storm-petrels, terns, fulmars, gannets, jaegers, alcids and other like birds and/or 10,000 gulls at one time during some part of the year so long as the primary food source for such birds is not anthropogenic (created by humans, e.g. garbage dumps).
3. Shorebird Concentration Site; a location that supports at least 300 birds such as plovers, sandpipers, and other like birds during some part of the year.
4. Wading Bird Concentration Site; a location that supports at least 100 birds such as bitterns, herons, egrets, ibises and other like birds during some part of the year.
5. Migratory Concentration Site; a location that is a flight corridor stopover site for an exceptional number or diversity of migratory songbirds during either spring or fall seasons.
6. Diverse Species Concentration Site; a location that supports a distinctive group of indigenous bird species that is the consequence of local habitats which result from unique vegetational, geological, geographical, topographical, or microclimatological circumstances.
7. Individual Species Concentration Site; a location that supports at least one bird species during one or more seasons of the year as a regionally unique, dense (for the species) population.
8. Species at Risk Site; (1) a location that supports a significant population of a species that is listed either federally or by New York as endangered, threatened, or of special concern, or (2) which supports a species that is verified by either the commissioner or the state ornithologist as being rare or declining within New York state, or (3) an exceptional, rare, or remnant native habitat, vegetative community, or landscape segment that supports one or more significant habitat dependent populations of wild bird species.
9. Bird Research Site; a location where a wild bird population research and/or monitoring project of at least five consecutive years' duration is conducted and contributes to the science of ornithology and/or bird conservation policy through publicly accessible scholarly and/or scientific publications.
BCA Legislation and Advisory Committee
Legislation establishing the Bird Conservation Area (BCA) program was enacted by the New York State Legislature, and signed into law on September 5, 1997. The features of it are as follows:
- Creates the Bird Conservation Area Program on state-owned lands and waters to "safeguard and enhance populations of wild birds native to New York State and the habitats therein that birds are dependent upon for breeding, migration, shelter, and sustenance."
- Designated properties are to be mapped, and copies of all pertinent documents forwarded to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) "for inventory, research, and reference purposes for the general public."
- A master inventory list and maps of BCAs shall be kept on file by DEC, with duplicates at the New York State Museum and Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.
- Defines BCAs: waterfowl concentration site, pelagic seabird site, shorebird concentration site, wading bird concentration site, migratory concentration site, diverse species concentration site, individual species concentration site, species at risk site, and bird research site (see BCA Criteria).
- BCAs to be designated by DEC Commissioner, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) Commissioner, or Secretary of State, for appropriate properties under their jurisdictions and consistent with their respective missions.
- Establishes an Advisory Committee - no pay, meet at least two times annually.
- States the purpose of the BCA Program: to advise as to the designation, management, educational research and utilization of those sites that are individually designated as part of and collectively comprise the New York State Bird Conservation Area Program. Provided, however, the utilization of such sites shall be consistent with the respective missions of the Department, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the Department of State.
The following organizations are represented on the BCA Advisory Committee
We appreciate their participation!
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
- New York State Conservation Fund Advisory Board
- New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
- New York State Department of State
- New York State Canal Corporation
- New York State Museum
- New York State Biodiversity Research Institute
- New York State Conservation Council
- Audubon New York
- New York State Ornithological Association
- The Nature Conservancy
- Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology
- Ducks Unlimited