Protecting Land for Our Spring Friends

The Spring migration is in full swing, and our skies, forests, and backyards are filled with song again as migratory birds progress through the Mississippi Flyway.

Nelwyn McInnis, our Land Protection Specialist, is keeping track of some of the returning friends she hears each day on her property, 28 mostly-forested acres in St. Tammany Parish. Her favorite ones include:

  • White-eyed vireos
  • Ruby-throated hummingbirds
  • Hooded warblers
  • Wood thrush
  • Kentucky Warbler
  • Crested flycatcher
  • Chuck-will’s-widow
  • Yellow-billed cuckoo
Kentucky Warbler

Nelwyn says that the wood thrush has one of the most melodic songs in North America – listen here!

Upon arrival these birds search for haven along the coast in cypress-tupelo forests and bottomland hardwood forests… habitats under threat from encroaching development, sea level rise, and severe storms. This is why it’s so important that we protect sites like Sunnyside Plantation Mitigation Bank in Iberville Parish, one of our easement properties where the mitigation bank sponsor is working to re-establish over 80 acres of bottomland hardwood forest. This conservation easement will help to ensure the long-term biodiversity of the adjacent 30,000+ acres of bottomland hardwood, by increasing its contiguous acreage.

One of the most vital sites in our region for migratory birds is the West Pontchartrain-Maurepas Swamp Important Bird Area. This remote cypress-tupelo swamp has been designated by the Audubon Society as a crucial link for the millions of birds who travel through the Flyway every spring. Unfortunately, this year, it will shelter fewer birds due to 80% of the tree cover being destroyed during Hurricane Ida.

We are embarking on a campaign to Restore the Ridge at the Maurepas Swamp Preserve, where we own 700 acres of wetland forest. By working with foresters and local agencies to restore healthy tree cover and fight invasive species that have moved in, we are ensuring that this special place will continue to be resilient and protect wildlife for generations to come. Learn more about how to support Restore the Ridge here.

You can contact us if you have questions about Restore the Ridge, the West-Pontchartrain Maurepas Swamp Important Bird Area, or how our conservation easements are enhancing wildlife habitats across Louisiana!

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