Working with community partners to restore important bird habitat in Cobbs Creek Park
Willow Flycatcher in native willow. Photo: Kelly Colgan Azar/Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0
As the largest city in the Delaware River Watershed, Philadelphia’s landscapes and residents play an integral role in maintaining a healthy watershed for people and birds. The city’s park system is a recognized Important Bird Area (IBA) for its vital habitats, water, and food supply for migratory birds and year-round residents, such as Willow Flycatcher and Wood Thrush. Philadelphia is also an Urban Bird Treaty City, which aims to protect birds that migrate through or overwinter in urban areas.
In a broader conservation effort to protect the Darby/Cobbs and Lower Schuylkill sub-watersheds, Audubon kicked off the two-year project to restore two meadows at Whitby Avenue, located in Philadelphia’s Cobbs Creek Park. This project will improve ecological conditions for birds, pollinators, and other wildlife by increasing native plants that provide a natural food source and habitat, improving plantings in the riparian buffer zone to reduce erosion and restore creek health, and reducing plastic pollution and trash.
Partnership is key to restoring this habitat for birds and communities alike. This project will partner with community partners, local organizations, schools, and individuals to co-create programming and events designed for the community and neighbors of Cobbs Creek Park, as well as engage volunteers and encourage community champions.
This ecological restoration project brings together local environmental organizations, city agencies, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to inform, develop and implement conservation efforts. Current project partners include John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Fairmount Park Conservancy, LandHealth Institute, and Darby Creek Valley Association.
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Reflecting on the “gruesome and overwhelming” day, experts remain hopeful that the event will inspire action for bird-friendly communities.