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About Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries

Our Mission 

Our mission is to preserve ecologically valuable stopover habitat on Dauphin Island for neotropical migrant birds

With the support of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and countless generous donors, DIBS has protected the western boundary of the Shell Mounds Park, acquired the grove of ancient live oaks known as the Goat Trees, the lot providing the new exit road from the Audubon Sanctuary, a number of wet lots in the Gorgas and Tupelo Gum Swamps, and several other parcels of prime bird habitat. Wherever you see a DIBS sign, you are viewing habitat protected forever.

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Concern for the direction and future of the 137-acres of the Audubon Bird Sanctuary on Dauphin Island began in 1992 when the National Audubon Society made the decision not to continue the lease that it held on the bird sanctuary. National Audubon had held the lease for 20 years, having signed two successive 10-year leases with the Dauphin Island Park and Beach Board.

The impetus behind the formation of the Friends of Dauphin Island Audubon Sanctuary (FODIAS) was to fill the void left by National Audubon’s departure. FODIAS was created by a group of concerned birders and citizens who lived on or visited Dauphin Island to enjoy the remarkable migration of neo-tropical birds in spring and fall.

Protection of the footprint of the bird sanctuary was the first objective of FODIAS. The Audubon Bird Sanctuary was and is to this day an integral part of the undeveloped shore, dune, wetland, and maritime forest stop-over habitat necessary for successful migration of bird species.

FODIAS began signing one-year leases with the Park and Beach Board until 1996, or thereabouts when thePark and Beach Board discontinued the leasing option. FODIAS continued to work with the Park and BeachBoard to maintain habitat and paths, control invasive plant species, and provide improved vehicle accessthrough the purchase of the Exit Lot for the sanctuary.

The vision of FODIAS evolved under the proficient and far-sighted leadership of John Porter and a talented
Board of Directors to include the purchase of undeveloped stopover habitat for migrating neotropical birds as
well as the local population of birds on the island. To reflect the expanded vision, FODIAS changed its name to
Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries, Inc. (DIBS), built a membership that spans more than 15 states, achieved
501(c)(3) status as a non-profit, and began the mission to acquire and protect in perpetuity properties on the
island. Today, the dedicated membership of DIBS have left a legacy that has flourished for almost 30 years.
Over time, with the support of many generous donors providing large and small gifts, contributions, land gifts,
endowments, and grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), DIBS has protected
approximately 55 properties on the island with a value of over two million dollars.



what we're working towards


Maintain a network of quality stopover habitats.


Work with non-profits, government, and other agencies to ensure a balance between
human land uses and conservation.


Educate landowners about practices that strengthen the island's unique ecosystem.


Promote the economic value of ecotourism by attracting more birders to Dauphin Island.

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John F. Porter, Jr.

John F. Porter, Jr. made a remarkable impact on Dauphin Island through his work on the Alabama Coastal Birding Trail and the formation of Friends of the Dauphin Island Audubon Sanctuary (FODIAS) which later became known as the Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries, Inc. (DIBS). His knowledge and insight about the importance of preserving and protecting bird habitat on the island has resulted in the conservation of a significant number of undeveloped sanctuaries and his legacy will continue as DIBS carries on the mission that he spearheaded for many years.

Awards & Grants 

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Governor's Conservation Achievement Award

The 2020 Alabama Wildlfe Conservationist Award

DIBS has been awarded the Governor's Conservation Achievement Award - The 2020 Alabama Wildlife Conservationist Award - in recognition of our outstanding wildlife resource conservation efforts demonstrating commitment and leadership in wildlife habitat protection.

Thank you Alabama Wildlife Federation!

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Silver Star Rating 

For 2020 and 2021

GuideStar by Candid is an information service which specializes in reporting on U.S. nonprofit
organizations and companies. Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries, Inc. (or DIBS) has achieved Silver Star rating for 2020 and 2021.

Check our charity’s status for transparency and leadership!

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Cornell Grant Award

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology - 2021

The Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries project, Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuaries Habitat Management Project, was selected to receive a $25,000 grant though the Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in 2021. As one of fourteen organizations to be awarded this grant, DIBS is proud to demonstrate its ability to preserve birds and habitat on private land. The Cornell funds will assist with habitat management to get DIBS properties in good condition as a food source and refuge for migratory birds. 

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