|Madison County Conservation Board||$500||The project that we are requesting funding for is the purchase and installation of a Motus tower at Pammel State Park. This tower would be an addition to the Motus Wildlife Tracking System throughout the world. This system uses radio telemetry to track many bird species, along with other animals, and plays a crucial role in their research. This helps researchers learn more about migratory information, stopover sites, breeding information, and much more. Our organization’s goal is to be part of the effort of having towers expand across Iowa. There are currently only 7 stations in Iowa. We also plan to use the data from our project, along with other towers, as a tool for additional education programming in our new nature center. This state-of-the-art facility will be opening in the upcoming months.
We are requesting $5100 for this project; partial funding will be accepted.||
|Buena Vista County Conservation ~ Katie Struss||$497||Buena Vista County Conservation’s goal in purchasing the egg replicas is to raise awareness and provide education about local birds to all residents of Buena Vista County. The naturalist sees on average over 9,000 Buena Vista County residents a year. She does programming in all six schools districts, local libraries, care centers, civic groups, ISU Extension, public events, and more. ||
|Sac County Conservation Board||$300||Birds Eye View will allow us to purchase and have live stream cameras available for viewing 24/7. The goal of our Birds Eye View project is to educate Sac County residents about the feeding habits and nesting habits of the birds of Iowa.||
|Iowa Bird Rehabilitation||$1,000||"Building Four New Outdoor Aviaries at Iowa Bird Rehabilitation"
3108 49th St., Des Moines, IA 50310
Project Start/End: May 1- 31, 2023
We plan to build four new aviaries: one for hummingbirds, one for small songbirds, one for an American Kestrel (education bird, non-flighted), and one for a Short-eared Owl (education bird, non-flighted).
Under the guidelines set by the Minimum Standards for Wildlife Rehabilitation (National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association and the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council), the proposed aviaries are:
Hummingbird 2'W x 4'L x 6'H
Small Songbirds 2'W x 4'L x 6'H
American Kestrel (educational bird, non-flighted) 3’W x 3’L x 3’H
Short-eared Owl (educational bird, non-flighted) 6’W x 6’L x 7’H
How our project benefits and increases the understanding of Iowa birds:
Our organization specializes in the rehabilitation of Iowa's wild bird population. IBR benefits Iowa's wild bird population through rescue and rehabilitation work; we also involve communities locally and across Iowa by helping the public to understand bird behavior and how to co-exist with birds.
Our primary mission is bird rescue, rehabilitation, and release. Last year we had 1,819 admissions and released 710 healthy birds back into the wild (the remainder of the birds either died before intake, during rehabilitation, were transferred, pending, or euthanized). Each year our numbers increase 20-25%, some years more. As we grow in the number of admits, we are also improving the quality of our care by building facilities and outdoor flight cages to accommodate our growing number of birds. In the past four years, we have created two free-standing buildings dedicated to bird care, added a nursery and medical area, and erected six new, larger aviaries.
We have state and federal permits to rehabilitate all songbirds, waterfowl, game birds, shore birds, and small raptors. Out of the 1,819 admissions last year, we took in 91 unique species of birds, from tiny Ruby Throated Hummingbirds to the large American White Pelicans. We have started to collect more and more data each year for each bird we care for, hoping to use the data for future research and conservation projects.
In addition to benefiting Iowa's wild bird populations, we are committed to engaging the local community and concerned citizens across the state. Last year we took in birds from 797 unique individuals, mainly from the Des Moines metro area but also from places such as Fairfield, Burlington, Fort Dodge, Clear Lake, Council Bluffs, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Winterset, and several small towns throughout the state. We also provide volunteer opportunities for bird lovers and currently have over forty volunteers who help with bird care, rescue, transport, and administrative duties.
We take as many as fifteen to twenty-five calls daily during peak season. During these calls, we are answering questions about birds and being able to assess if a bird needs our help||
|Polk County Conservation Board||$803||Polk County Conservation will be conducting avian surveys of Brown's Woods Park in West Des Moines, IA. Brown's Woods has had little active management in recent years and PCC has put together a management plan highlighting information needs to help guide management decisions. An updated avian inventory is one priority that will be completed this year. A combination of migratory and breeding bird surveys will be performed, as well as some vegetation analysis to determine current bird use of the park. This standardized survey will be able to be repeated in future years to determine impacts of vegetation management on the bird communities of Brown's Woods. The results will also help guide management decisions to enhance habitat for any species of special concern found utilizing the park.||
|Tallgrass Prairie Chapter of the Iowa Audubon Society||$400||The common nighthawk has adapted well to urban habitats, where city lights draw abundant insects, expanding the bird’s hunting window, and where flat pea gravel rooftops have provided a suitable nesting substrate. Recently, many building rooftops have transitioned toward rubberized or otherwise membraned roofs,
leaving fewer suitable gravel nesting sites for the birds which have come to rely upon them.
The degree to which this trend in roofing has impacted nighthawk populations is unclear, but
anecdotal evidence suggests they are not as abundant as they once were. Many members of the
Tallgrass Prairie Chapter (TPC) of the Iowa Audubon Society and longtime residents of Grinnell
have noted a marked decrease in the city’s populations. More concretely, according to the North
American Breeding Bird Survey, US nighthawk populations have decreased an estimated 48%
between 1966 and 2019. It is reasonable to presume that such declines may be due in part to the
transitioning of flat gravel rooftops to membrane surfaces.
Following the construction and monitoring methods found in the “Project Nighthawk Nest Patch
Handbook,” a 2008 publication of New Hampshire Audubon, this project aims to determine
whether nighthawks will use small artificial nesting pads installed on rubberized rooftops, and if
so, to what degree the method is practical for repetition on a larger scale. If this project is funded,
we will construct pea gravel nesting pads of approximately 81 sq. ft. on flat urban rooftops and
employ volunteer citizen scientists to monitor them throughout the summer. To our knowledge,
no other efforts of this kind have been initiated elsewhere in the state.
|Friends of the Ledges, Inc.||$1,000||Ledges State Park Invasive Shrub Removal
IOU funds would be used as part of a large project to remove invasive shrubs from the habitats of Ledges State Park in the fall of 2023. Surveys indicate that heavy stands of honeysuckle, barberry, autumn olive and multiflora rose are degrading over 60 acres of Important Bird Area habitat. The project would utilize resource management crews from Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa (CCI) to remove the heaviest infestations in the fall of 2023, using funding from a number of other sources.
Volunteer work crews from Friends of the Ledges and other groups will remove invasive shrubs from less heavily infested areas, and monitor and follow up on invasive shrub control after the CCI crews have left for years to come. IOU funds would be used to purchase tools and safety equipment for these volunteer crews. Community members and local landowners will be invited to the park while CCI crews are working; to learn techniques, methods, and theories behind invasive species removal. This newly formed coalition will increase the Friends of the Ledges’ capacity to serve the park and its visitors.
This resource management work is essential to keep habitats in Ledges State Park healthy and diverse; a place that will keep unique birds, and birders, coming back to central Iowa for a years to come.
|Iowa Young Birders||$500||People, especially youth, are becoming increasingly disconnected from nature resulting in negative impacts on both physical and mental health as well as a lack of appreciation of nature and environmental issues. Therefore, developing creative ways to encourage engagement with nature among youth and their families is imperative for garnering support for conservation efforts. As hubs for resources and information in their respective communities, public libraries are ideal vehicles for providing the tools (birding backpacks) and educational materials to build accessible opportunities for community-centered education and increased awareness about Iowa’s birds and Bird Conservation Areas among youth and their families.
Iowa Young Birders received a grant from the Iowa DNR Wildlife Diversity Program to deploy 10 birding backpacks in 5 public libraries across Iowa as a pilot in the spring of 2023. We intend to expand the initial pilot effort by deploying an additional 8 birding backpacks in 4 partnering public libraries strategically located near areas designated as either Iowa Audubon Important Bird Areas and / or Iowa DNR Bird Conservation Areas. Each birding backpack will include two pairs of binoculars, a field guide, a smartphone digiscoping adapter for the binoculars for individuals to photograph birds or other wildlife they see, and educational materials specific to each Bird Conservation Area located near the partnering library, all of which will promote self-guided engagement with Iowa's birds and natural areas. Our Education Programs Assistant will develop kid-friendly educational materials about each Bird Conservation / Important Bird Area, including information about focal species and public parks and wildlife areas within each area, to accompany the backpacks. This project will allow us to provide the expertise in developing educational materials and self-contained packs that encourage nature engagement while leveraging the capacity of local libraries to distribute and advertise the availability of these resources. We intend to compile usage statistics (e.g., total number of loans, number of loans to unique library visitors, etc.) as a way to evaluate the success and impact of this project. This project will help propel us towards our goal of deploying birding backpacks in all public libraries located within or near Bird Conservation and Important Bird Areas in Iowa and, ultimately, in all of Iowa’s 543 public libraries.||