Erik I. Johnson

Director of Bird Conservation, Audubon Louisiana

Erik joined Audubon in April 2011 as a Conservation Biologist for the Mississippi Flyway and Gulf Coast Initiative where he provided science-support and guidance for Audubon’s strategic planning process and building upon conservation and monitoring efforts in the region. Before coming to Audubon, Erik’s graduate work at Louisiana State University included researching the effects of forest fragmentation on Amazonian bird communities and understanding the effects of fire management on grassland birds in pine savannas of the southeastern U.S. and has published his work in scientific journals including The Auk and Ecology.

It was while finishing his dissertation when the BP oil spill shocked the Gulf Coast and in response, Erik helped develop a citizen science program across the central Gulf Coast, Audubon’s Coastal Bird Survey, which he continues to lead. Erik started his ornithological career stewarding and monitoring breeding Least Terns and Piping Plovers in Massachusetts, and has returned to these coastal roots by leading the development of a comprehensive beach-nesting bird stewardship program in Louisiana by developing partnerships with other organizations and local communities. Erik also has developed several bird monitoring initiatives at the Paul J. Rainey Audubon Sanctuary to understand the effects of management on marshbirds, supporting the science-based restoration mission of the Rainey Conservation Alliance, a collaboration among local landowners in Vermilion Parish to save coastal marshes. Erik is active in Louisiana’s birding community and serves as Louisiana’s Christmas Bird Count regional editor, a member of Louisiana’s Bird Records Committee, Vice President of Baton Rouge Audubon Society, and Co-director of the Louisiana Bird Observatory. Erik lives in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Articles by Erik I. Johnson

Louisiana 119th CBC Summary
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Louisiana 119th CBC Summary

— During the 2018-2019 (119th) Audubon Christmas Bird Count, Louisiana birders for the first time conducted 30 counts, continuing a recent trend of CBC expansion and increased participation.
The Louisiana Big Sit! Summary 2019
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The Louisiana Big Sit! Summary 2019

— The Big Sit! is a zero-mileage, non-competitive, family-friendly tailgate party to celebrate the birds of your community.
The Louisiana Big Sit! October 12 & 13
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The Louisiana Big Sit! October 12 & 13

— Audubon Louisiana, Baton Rouge Audubon Society and Orleans Audubon Society will be hosting four Big Sit! locations across south Louisiana
Coastal Louisiana – A Bird Paradise to be Saved, or Lost Forever?
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Coastal Louisiana – A Bird Paradise to be Saved, or Lost Forever?

— A recent paper demonstrates just how significant coastal Louisiana is for supporting massive bird populations. Louisiana ranks #1 in population of Mottled Ducks, Royal Terns, Black Skimmers, Wilson’s Plovers, and many other important species. Louisiana even ranks #1 in the country for its state bird – the Brown Pelican – a species that was eradicated in the 1960s by DDT but is now flourishing due to reintroduction efforts and nesting island restoration.
Volunteer to Save Beach-nesting Birds this 4th of July Weekend!
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Volunteer to Save Beach-nesting Birds this 4th of July Weekend!

— This weekend, partner with Audubon Louisiana to protect these nests, and enjoy some time on the beach!
Coastal Stewardship - Summer Update
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Coastal Stewardship - Summer Update

— Louisiana's beaches are full of baby birds - here's how we're protecting them!
Barrier Islands: A Critical Restoration Project for People and Birds
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Barrier Islands: A Critical Restoration Project for People and Birds

— Managing Barrier Islands to Maximize their Benefits to Birds