Seasonal Expectations

Common Yellowthroat photo by Reid AllenOf the 400+ species recorded in Iowa over the years, the variety changes from season to season. Spring migration has the most diversity as birds quickly move north to their breeding grounds. Fall migration brings about an increase in diversity but is slower and spread out over several months. eBird bar charts are a great tool to learn about when to expect different species.

Avid birders sometimes attempt "Big Days" to record as many different species as possible in a twenty-four hour time period. Those are recorded and are presented here to give you an idea of seasonal changes and what to expect.

Iowa Record Big Days by Month

78 species
31 January 2009
Stephen J. Dinsmore, Jay Gilliam
83 species
24 February 2024
Jeff Livingston, Josh Livingston, Ben Baldwin
116 species
28 March 2024
Ben Baldwin, Nathan Miller
152 species
27 April 2024
Ben Baldwin, Logan Wilson, Jeff Livingston
204 species
13 May 1996
Pete Petersen, Brian Blevins, Don Moeller
135 species
1 June 2005
Danny Akers, Rita Goranson, Paul Hertzel
128 species
29 July 2016
Lee Schoenewe, Joe Jungers, Paul Roisen
136 species
26 August 2005
Lee Schoenewe, Ed Thelen
135 species
5 September 1987
Stephen J. Dinsmore, Jim Sinclair, Andrew Fix
101 species
3 October 2008
Livingston, Livingston, Livingston, Miller, Miller, Wilson
92 species
3 November 2016
Jeff Livingston, Nathan Miller
79 species
11 December 2012
Jim Fuller, Chuck Fuller, John Rutenbeck