Report Your Sightings

and contribute to Iowa's history

What are Seasonal Field Reports and Why Do We Care?

Ross' Goose Range MapThink about those useful range maps in your favorite field guide. How are they made with any semblance of accuracy? Who keeps track of this stuff and makes new maps as needed? Information from people like all of us have provided an incredible view of bird populations and movements for many years.

Spring - Mar-May
Summer - Jun-Jul
Fall - Aug-Nov
Winter - Dec-Feb

Recording changes in bird populations has a long history. One of the first citizen-science projects was the Christmas Bird Count which culminated in a picture painted of changes to specific areas at a specific time of year. Since the 1940s seasonal observations have been synthesized into a journal (now called North American Birds) giving a continental view of our birds. States and provinces have historically published field notes or reports of interesting observations in their journal, compiled by volunteers in their state/provincial organization. These self-reported sightings are then combined with those of neighboring areas to create regional reports for the bigger publication. The big picture starts at home and Iowa will only be well represented when Iowans participate.

Birders enter sightings ⇒ Seasonal Field Reports Editors synthesize data (including weather impacts) into a summary for Iowa Bird Life ⇒ Regional report (multi-state) is written and submitted to North American Birds ⇒ Journals are archived and digitized for researchers

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