BBA 2 Overview

Yellow-headed Blackbird - Jay GilliamFrom 2008 to 2012 Iowa conducted its second Breeding Bird Atlas project.

The first atlas project was conducted from 1985 through 1990 and new data shows us range expansions and contractions over the past 20+ years. During this time the landscape changed with the use of CRP increasing our grasslends.

Scarlet Tanager - Jay GilliamWith 791 blocks and a goal of 20 hours per block (15,820 total hours), the undertaking was immense but atlassers began the process in 2008.  The first years were challenging since many of the habitat blocks are along rivers and it seemed like the rivers were always flooding.  As can be seen in the chart below, the effort increased considerably in the drought year of 2012, the first time many of these lowland areas could be explored.  Helping immensely in this effort was a 2012 grant from the Iowa DNR to hire techs assigned to survey under-reported blocks.  These two factors, combined with the great effort of volunteers, provided many great data points in this final year.

Chimney Swift - Mark BrownVolunteer efforts as well were significant.  Beginning in 2010 the steering committee identified clusters of under-reported blocks and the BBA Coordinator organized block-busting events in these areas throughout the state.  These organized activities brought together local birders and those who were looking for some new adventure in a different part of the state and helped to add quality data to these blocks.  The coordinators also did a great job of maintaining engagement with the volunteer community through periodic newsletters which are still great fun to read.

For more information on the criteria used for BBA 2 and how blocks were selected, please read our methodology page and view the maps.

Map used with permission of the State of Iowa Counties: Buena Vista, Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Humboldt, Ida, Kossuth, Lyon, O'Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Sac, Sioux, Webster, WoodburyCounties: Adair, Audubon, Carroll, Cass, Crawford, Guthrie, Harrison, Monona, Pottawattamie, ShelbyCounties: Adams, Fremont, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Ringgold, Taylor, UnionCounties: Butler, Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Franklin, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Mitchell, Winnebago, Worth, WrightCounties: Boone, Dallas, Greene, Jasper, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Story, TamaCounties: Appanoose, Clarke, Davis, Decatur, Keokuk, Lucas, Madison, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe, Wapello, Warren, WayneCounties: Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Linn, MuscatineCounties: Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Chickasaw, Clayton, Delaware, Fayette, Howard, WinneshiekCounties: Clinton, Dubuque, Jackson, Jones, ScottCounties: Des Moines, Henry, Jefferson, Lee, Louisa, Van Buren, Washington The following table summarizes the results of BBA 2 by regions of the state. Hover over a region on the map to see which counties are included in a given region.

Region
# of Blocks
Hours
All Species
Confirmed/Probable
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Central
79
1,372
1371.78
177
148
North West
152
1,762
1761.88
174
148
North Central
87
1,187
1187.11
169
144
Northeast
93
1,319
1319.31
169
142
Southeast
50
677
677.45
154
135
Southwest
51
637
636.81
156
134
South Central
109
1,459
1458.66
169
132
East
42
588
587.86
153
128
East Central
52
792
792.26
158
125
West Central
76
852
852.31
155
121