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Nanticoke Important Bird Area identified

Audubon Maryland-DC's Important Bird Areas Progam recently identified its newest Important Bird Area, in the Nanticoke watershed. Nanticoke IBA extends from Wetipquin in Wicomico county, up to the Delaware line on the Nanticoke River and nearly to Federalsburg on Marshyhope Creek. It includes large areas of deciduous swamp forest and also upland forests of loblolly pine in Wicomico and Dorchester Counties.

Nanticoke IBA was identified because it supports populations of statewide significance of 5 at-risk species: Bald Eagle, Chuck-will's Widow, Prairie Warbler, Prothonotary Warbler, and Worm-eating Warbler. It also hosts other at-risk species, including Least Bittern and King Rail, probably at significant population levels.

Important Bird Areas have begun to play a role in protecting land via the land use planning process on the lower shore. The recent vote by Wicomico County's Planning and Zoning Appeals Board to deny the "Woodlands at Whiton" cluster development proposal was based in part on the site's location within Pocomoke-Nassawango IBA, the premier site on the Delmarva peninsula for forest-interior birds. I hope the new Nanticoke IBA will similarly help to protect priority wildlife habitat in western Wicomico and eastern Dorchester Counties.

Provided by:

David Curson, PhD
Director of Bird Conservation,
Audubon MD-DC,
2437 Eastern Avenue,
Baltimore MD 21224
Tel: (410) 558 2473
E-mail: dcurson@audubon.org