From 2008 to 2012 Iowa conducted its second Breeding Bird Atlas
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.
With 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.
Volunteer 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
For more information on the criteria used for BBA 2 and how blocks were
selected, please read our methodology page and view the
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.