Success Stories

Henslow's Sparrow - Mark Brown

Henslow's Sparrow, a threatened species in the state, is no doubt the greatest success story in Iowa's breeding birds. Increased grasslands have made a huge difference.  Iowa has also made investments in wetland restoration and healthy forest management.  Here we will highlight a few species where breeding seems to be on the increase.  Be sure to also see the chart of Iowa Important Bird Area criteria species to see the changes in nesting status for these endangered, threatened, and conservation concern species.

Grassland Species

  • Sedge Wren - +52.8% in blocks recorded; +42.6% in confirmed/probable blocks
  • Henslow's Sparrow - +27.3% in blocks recorded; +12.5% in confirmed/probable blocks
  • Bobolink - +15.4% in blocks recorded; +16.7% in confirmed/probable blocks
  • Grasshopper Sparrow - +7.8% in blocks recorded; +2% in confirmed/probable blocks
  • Upland Sandpiper - +3% in blocks recorded; +2.6% in confirmed/probable blocks

Wetland Species

  • Pied-billed Grebe - +10.9% in blocks recorded; +6.4% in confirmed/probable blocks
  • Sandhill Crane - +6.7% in blocks recorded; +5.4% in confirmed/probable blocks
  • Virginia Rail - +5.5% in blocks recorded; +4.4% in confirmed/probable blocks
  • American Bittern - +4.7% in blocks recorded; +1.3% in confirmed/probable blocks
  • Least Bittern - +1.9% in blocks recorded; +1.1% in confirmed/probable blocks

Woodland Species

  • Pileated Woodpecker - +13.4% in blocks recorded; +12.5% in confirmed/probable blocks
  • Wood Thrush - +8.7% in blocks recorded; +12.1% in confirmed/probable blocks
  • Red-shouldered Hawk - +8.4% in blocks recorded; +4.9% in confirmed/probable blocks
  • Broad-winged Hawk - +6.2% in blocks recorded; +4.9% in confirmed/probable blocks
  • Kentucky Warbler - +2.3% in blocks recorded; +2.4% in confirmed/probable blocks