Birding in Iowa has a distinctly eastern flavor.
As a general rule the birds one finds breeding here will be the same as one
finds in New Jersey. Iowa has documented breeding of 206 species.
One of these, Passenger Pigeon, is now extinct. Swallow-tailed Kite,
Whooping Crane, Long-billed Curlew, Say's Phoebe, and Rock Wren formerly nested
but are now considered accidental in the state. Three other species, King
Rail, Burrowing Owl, and Prairie Warbler, irregularly appear in the state and
have successfully nested in recent years. This leaves a total of 197
regularly recorded species which might be reasonably searched for during an
Many of these species are expected each summer. Others, however, are
sporadic or local. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher appears annually but has only
nested once. Red Crossbills may or may not be found in summer in any given
year. Greater Prairie-Chicken and Black-billed Magpie are extremely
localized. Some species have contracted their breeding range over the
years while others have expanded and are found more frequently here. Of the 200 regular and casual nesting species in the state, 188
of them were recorded as confirmed or probable during this five year atlas
project for a 94% success rate.
The focus over the past few decades have been on breeding grassland birds.
As our grasslands disappear to row crop production, so do birds like Henslow's
and Grasshopper Sparrows, Bobolink, and Dickcissel. The increase in CRP
acreage should be apparent in some of these species reports. Conversely
some adaptation appears to be happening. Observers have reported
increasing sightings of Upland Sandpipers in soy bean fields. Enjoy
comparing our species distribution from 20
years ago to now.