Birds in Iowa

Birds in Iowa

Agriculture might be a big part of Iowa but it’s the wetlands, lakes and forests that attracts birds to the state. The species recorded in the state seem to be a mixture of northern, midwestern and the ones from south central.

What Is The State Bird Of Iowa?

In 1933, the Eastern Goldfinch became Iowa’s official state bird. Often referred to as the Wild Canary, you can find the species anywhere in Iowa, especially during winter season. The plumage of the species is mostly a bright yellow with black on the top of the head, tail and the wings.


What Are the Top Bird Watching Spots In Iowa?

Lacey-Keosauqua State Park, with all its 1653 acres of it, has been favored by the state bird watchers for some time. It’s among the Audubon Important Bird Area and Iowa Bird Conservation Area as well- the later title designated in 2015. Mostly during summer and spring, the bird resume of Iowa includes Kentucky Warbler, Acadian Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo and Red-headed Woodpecker.

DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge, right on DeSoto Lake and what used to be called Missouri river oxbow, the area is excellent for coming across a varied range of bird species. The sandbars, wetlands, riparian forests are part of the habitat, providing opportunities for species from different areas to feel comfortable. American White Pelican and Double-crested Cormorant are seen year round while visits from Snow Geese increases during fall. Nesting birds here are the Lark Sparrow, Orchard Oriole and Grasshopper Sparrow.

How Many Birds Can You See in Iowa?

About 428 species can be seen traipsing through Iowa. The county of Polk can boast about having the highest species count with 353 for birds in Iowa. Johnson, Woodbury, Story and Marion aren’t that far behind. Their count individually amounts to 334, 319, 315 and 314.

Saylorville Reservoir is the obvious hotspot in Iowa with a species count bordering on 300, that is 299. Hawkeye WMA and Saylorville Reservoir- are also tempting options for birdwatchers with the count of 289 and 274 respectively.

Top Birds To See In Iowa

Among the top birds in Iowa, you can’t skip out on a mention of New World Orioles. The species have black wings but a yellow body, quite a bright shade of yellow in fact. It’s the kind of bird that’s hard to miss out on even when they are trying to hide in the tree branches.

Cooper’s Hawk, with it’s straight back, and a body made of fluffy feathers, can be quite scary at first glance but certainly a pleasure to look at. There’s something about the species you can’t take your eyes away from.

Common Birds To See In Iowa

A person has never visited Iowa and not seen an American Tree Sparrow in Des Moines once. Their chirpy tunes almost always wake people up from their deep slumber in the morning.

Then there’s the Cedar Waxwing and White Breasted Nuthatch, always seen in Davenport.

Final Thoughts

Currently, Iowa has three active trails. One of the birding trails even parallel Mississippi, providing great opportunities for a bird watcher. Iowa’s species count might not be too big but it certainly has some interesting perspective to offer.

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