Birding in Iowa

431 Species

Some Iowa Specialties

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Species Recorded by Year

2021 - 330 2021 - 330 2021 - 330 2021 - 330 2020 - 332 2020 - 332 2020 - 332 2020 - 332 2019 - 324 2019 - 324 2019 - 324 2019 - 324 2018 - 323 2018 - 323 2018 - 323 2018 - 323 2017 - 327 2017 - 327 2017 - 327 2017 - 327 2016 - 331 2016 - 331 2016 - 331 2016 - 331 2015 - 327 2015 - 327 2015 - 327 2015 - 327 2014 - 333 2014 - 333 2014 - 333 2014 - 333 2013 - 325 2013 - 325 2013 - 325 2013 - 325 2012 - 330 2012 - 330 2012 - 330 2012 - 330 2011 - 323 2011 - 323 2011 - 323 2011 - 323 2010 - 325 2010 - 325 2010 - 325 2010 - 325 2009 - 325 2009 - 325 2009 - 325 2009 - 325 2008 - 330 2008 - 330 2008 - 330 2008 - 330 2007 - 340 2007 - 340 2007 - 340 2007 - 340 2006 - 333 2006 - 333 2006 - 333 2006 - 333 2005 - 334 2005 - 334 2005 - 334 2005 - 334 2004 - 326 2004 - 326 2004 - 326 2004 - 326 2003 - 317 2003 - 317 2003 - 317 2003 - 317 2002 - 316 2002 - 316 2002 - 316 2002 - 316 2001 - 319 2001 - 319 2001 - 319 2001 - 319 2000 - 323 2000 - 323 2000 - 323 2000 - 323 1999 - 320 1999 - 320 1999 - 320 1999 - 320 1998 - 318 1998 - 318 1998 - 318 1998 - 318 1997 - 325 1997 - 325 1997 - 325 1997 - 325 1996 - 327 1996 - 327 1996 - 327 1996 - 327 1995 - 329 1995 - 329 1995 - 329 1995 - 329 1994 - 322 1994 - 322 1994 - 322 1994 - 322
 
Iowa - where the four corners meet

It's Not All Corn & Beans...

  • Hardwood Forest

    High on the bluffs of the northeast we find a transition to hardwood forests overlooking lowland riparian areas of the Mississippi River drainage. More northern birds such as Ruffed Grouse are found here as well as some southerly species like Kentucky Warbler that follow the streams north. Recent research has shown this area to be critical habitat for breeding Cerulean Warblers.
    Photo by Doug Harr
  • Wetlands

    Although wetlands may be found in any area of the state, the most noteworthy are to the north. Much of that landscape was leveled and scoured by the most recent glacier resulting in many natural prairie potholes. Over the years most of these were drained for farming but there has been an effort to restore many of them. Breeding birds found in these areas include rails, Black Tern, and Yellow-headed Blackbird.
    Photo by Chris LaRoux, Iowa DNR
  • Loess Hills & Missouri River Floodplain

    The generally wide floodplain of the western border ends abruptly at the sandy Loess Hills. The area is dotted with old oxbows which attract waterfowl and herons. In the far southwest the rolling hills are home to breeding southern species such as Chuck-wills-widow and Summer Tanager. Each fall the Hitchcock Hawkwatch provides extraordinary numbers of migrating raptors, including large numbers of Swainson's Hawks, and is the only location in the state to regularly record a migrating Ferruginous Hawk.
    Photo by Babs Padelford
  • Tallgrass Prairie/Grasslands

    Before settlers turned the soil for farming, most of the state was covered with tallgrass prairie. Much of the prairie has been lost but remnants of remaining grasslands are important for many species such as Grasshopper and Henslow's Sparrow, Sedge Wren, Dickcissel, and Bobolink.
    Photo by Reid Allen
  • Brushy Shrub Thickets

    At the edges of woods and row crops, especially in the southern half of the state where tillable acres do not run to the edge of the road, one finds tangles of vegetation such as this. These thickets provide good cover for species such as Bell's Vireo, Yellow-breasted Chat, Blue Grosbeak, and assorted other skulkers.
    Photo by Doug Harr
  • Woodlands

    Patches of woodlands remain in scattered areas and always serve as magnets for migrating passerines. Much of the southern third of the state consists of rolling hills and oak-hickory timber where we may find forest-related birds such as Pileated Woodpecker and Broad-winged and Red-Shouldered Hawks nesting.
    Photo by Ann Johnson
  • River & Stream Riparian

    Looking at the relief map above you can see that much of the state is crossed by numerous rivers and streams. These riparian areas, when they have not been cleared for row crops, often have abundant bird life including many of our breeding species. Look for Yellow Warblers and American Redstarts; Warbling Vireos and Yellow-billed Cuckoos.
    Photo by Doug Harr
  • Man-made Reservoirs

    Iowa has only few large natural lakes but the creation of large reservoirs along the Des Moines, Iowa, and Chariton rivers has significantly changed some of the bird life to be found here. Large congregations of waterfowl, waders, gulls, and shorebirds are often seen here during migration. Fall is a favorite time to bird the reservoirs when you never know if a rare gull or jaeger may appear.
    Photo by Paul Hertzel
  • Lowland River Bottoms

    The lowlands of the Mississippi River, with the many backwaters and bayous, are somewhat reminiscent of southern swamps. Yellow Warblers and American Redstarts are ubiquitous and this is the best area to find Prothonotary Warbler. Isolated islands in the river are home to breeding colonies of cormorants, gulls, and waders.
    Photo by Doug Harr