Endandgered Owls Need Your Help!

-- placeholder --

ACRES FOR OWLS - HELP FIBA Purchase & Protect 64 Acres of "Critical Habitat"

Short-eared owls were once one of our most common owls. Now, less than 100 remain.

The Washington County Grasslands Important Bird Area (IBA) is critical to the survival of Short-eared owls in New York State. The area provides critical habitat for Short-eared owls, Snowy owls and over 100 other bird and animal species. It supports 10 of 11 of New York''s most imperiled grassland bird species, including Short-eared owls, Northern harriers, American kestrels, Eastern meadowlarks, Upland sandpipers, Grasshopper sparrows and Bobolinks.

Friends of the IBA (FIBA) is the only nonprofit acquiring and permanently protecting critical habitat in the Washington County Grasslands IBA for NY’s endangered and at-risk grassland birds.  We’re asking you to help us raise $60,000 so we can purchase and permanently protect this critical habitat! (photo of Snowy owl courtesy Ken Rohling)

Your contribution will help ensure that this land – and the life it supports – is permanently protected. 

Learn more


VIP ADMISSION Available - click here for guaranteed seating at all Live Bird of Prey programs!!


This 3 minute video highlights the endangered, threatened and rapidly declining birds of the Washington County Grasslands Important Bird Area. This unique area is critical to the survival of Short-eared Owls in New York State!

Friends of the IBA is working to conserve critical lands in the IBA before these amazing owls disappear from New York State - and our own back yard - forever. Contact us, if you would like to learn more.

Your tax deductible contribution can be mailed to: Friends of the IBA, P.O. Box 82, Fort Edward, NY 12828

Special thanks to Sean Junda Junda Video Enterprises for the generous donation of videography and production services, filmmaker David deVries for script development and oversight, and Dr. Gordon Ellmers for his terrific bird photos!

Friends of the IBA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit land trust dedicated to conserving NY's endangered and at-risk grassland birds. We are the only nonprofit conserving this critical habitat! 

Grasslands are the fastest disappearing habitat in the U.S. and grassland birds are disappearing right along with them! Short-eared owls, Northern harriers, Eastern meadowlarks and Grasshopper sparrows are just a few of the grassland bird species who have seen their populations plummet by 70% - 90% or more!

The Washington County Grasslands Important Bird Area (IBA) is critical to the survival of Short-eared Owls in New York State.  Listed as a regional conservation priority in the NYS Open Space Plan, it supports 10 of 11 of the state’s most imperiled grassland birds.*  Yet less than 300 acres of this 2,000 acre grassland area have been protected!  

Help ensure that Short-eared owls and other grassland birds do not disappear from New York State -  Donate Today!

*Species include: Short-eared owl (endangered), Northern harrier (threatened), Upland sandpiper (threatened), Horned lark (threatened), Sedge wren (threatened), Eastern meadowlark, American kestrel, Grasshopper sparrow

[PHOTO: View from FIBA's handicapped accessible Alfred Z. Solomon Grassland Bird Viewing Area in Fort Edward; photo courtesy Laurie LaFond]


Short-eared owl returns to wild!

This little Short-eared owl was found starving to death in late December. He’s pictured here with wildlife rehabilitators Dave Larrow and Cathy Lehman at the moment of his release during FIBA’s March field trip.  (photo courtesy Gordon Ellmers - see link below for more photos...)


“Everyone ready? I’m going to open the box.”

The Short-eared owl erupted from the carrier and winged rapidly across the snowy expanse in front of us...   

Grassland Birds Benefit Everyone!

Grassland birds prey on insects and rodents that damage crops or carry diseases such as Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses. They share their habitat with bees and butterflies that pollinate fruits, vegetables, hay and other crops. Farmers and gardeners would see their crop yields decrease without the FREE ecological services these birds provide. Losing these services could encourage producers to increase chemical usage, resulting in more harmful substances in our food, soil and water.

Join the Winter Raptor Fest 2018 Honorary Committee!

Winter Raptor Fest is FIBA’s largest fundraiser…

Help make this year the best Winter Raptor Fest ever!!

Become a WRF 2018 Honorary Committee Member and show your support for New York’s endangered and threatened grassland birds.

You’ll be acknowledged in the Winter Raptor Fest 2018 Program and our official Winter Raptor Fest website. Joining is easy!

Make a contribution of:

  • $250 – receive 2 WRF 2018 VIP PASSES
  • $500 – receive 4 WRF 2018 VIP PASSES

Is a closer view or photo worth an owl's life?

Snowy owls and Short-eared owls journey south from breeding grounds in the Arctic every year to spend the winter in the Washington County Grasslands Important Bird Area (IBA).  They come seeking abundant populations of the mice, voles and other small prey they depend on for survival.

Thousands of bird watchers and photographers flock to the area soon after.  Most of the owls’ fans understand the need to keep a respectful distance, but there are always some who try to get too close.

Upcoming Events & Trips

Spring Migrants, Warblers & more!

Saturday, May 12, 2018 - 7:30am

Join Friends of the IBA/ FIBA Executive Director Laurie LaFond and avid birder Bo Harris as we celebrate the peak of the spring breeding bird migration!  We’ll set a leisurely pace as we explore a couple miles of trails through the open fields and wooded hills of a scenic 600-acre private retreat located in southern Washington County.  Expect to see colorful and sweet singing warblers, thrushes, tanagers, orioles, vireos and dozens of other migratory and breeding songbirds.

Grassland Breeding Birds "Peak Preview"

Saturday, June 2, 2018 - 7:30am

Join FIBA Executive Director Laurie LaFond and avid birder Rich Speidel for a private preview of the 64 acres we’re working to purchase near FIBA’s Alfred Z. Solomon Grassland Bird Viewing Area. This is prime habitat for grassland breeding songbirds! Likely sightings include Northern harriers, American kestrels, Eastern meadowlarks, Bobolinks, Savannah sparrows, Red-tailed hawks and dozens more; Grasshopper sparrow and Upland sandpiper possible.