Iowa Audubon


Aug 22, 2017

The annual Pelican Festival will again be held at Hawkeye Wildlife Area on upper Coralville Reservoir.  The date is set for Sunday, September 10, 11 AM to 4 PM. Hawkeye Wildlife Area is located at 2564 Amana Road NW, Swisher, IA, 1/2 mile west of junction with Iowa Hwy. 965.

            American White Pelicans may be viewed with binoculars or spotting scopes from the shoreline, with help from birdwatching volunteers.  Iowa’s major reservoirs, including Coralville Lake, are major stopover sites for pelican rest and feeding while on fall migration to the Gulf of Mexico.  Displays of conservation organizations and nature-related vendors will be featured, plus speakers with programs about pelicans and other aspects of local nature.  Food and cold drinks will be available for purchase.

            This annual free public event is hosted by Iowa DNR, US Army Corps of Engineers, Iowa Audubon, Cedar Rapids Audubon and the Iowa City Bird Club.  For additional information or questions, email Doug Harr at:

Apr 05, 2017

For nearly two years, Audubon Minnesota and the National Audubon Society, with many other partners, pleaded with the Minnesota Vikings’ owner to substitute “bird friendly” glass in construction of the new US Bank Stadium, which opened last fall.  The request was made to protect birds following the nearby Mississippi River in migration but was ignored, and 200,000 sq. ft. of highly reflective glass walls were installed.  This past autumn, volunteers walked around the stadium for three months, collecting many birds which died in glass collisions.  Hundreds more likely died elsewhere after injuries, or were removed by stadium maintenance crews before being found by the volunteers.  US Bank Stadium is now recognized as the most lethal structure for birds anywhere in Minnesota. 

A new 33-storey skyscraper is planned for downtown Des Moines, with probable design illustrating the entire building wrapped in reflective glass walls. Because of site proximity to the Des Moines River, a major migration pathway, this building could become our own version of the tragic new Vikings' stadium.  Iowans should contact the City of Des Moines and demand that this building--plus other future similar constructions--include the use “bird-friendly” glass.  Specially treated glass, such as etched or fritted, can cut bird collision deaths by as much as 80% and does not detract from building design.  This could help stave off further decline of many of our native and migrating bird species caused by glass building collisions. Let's not follow the example of the new stadium in Minneapolis.

Feb 08, 2017

       Last year, Iowa Audubon worked with Iowa DNR to acquire approximately 74 acres in the Iowa River floodplain between Belle Plain and Marengo.  This is the first project in the history of Iowa DNR that Audubon has been a sole acquisition partner, splitting costs 50-50.  Purpose of the project was to fill in a gap between existing parcels of public lands.  The Iowa River Corridor (IRC) is co-designated as one of DNR’s “Bird Conservation Areas” (BCAs) and Audubon’s “Important Bird Areas” (IBAs), so connecting, enlarging and permanently protecting avian habitat here is vital to both programs. Wetlands and native prairie restorations are planned for this new site by Iowa DNR.

       Beginning this past fall, additional contributions from Audubon are going to the US Fish & Wildlife Service to better restore wetlands and grasslands on some federal property within the IRC IBA-BCA, work that will continue again this year.  Finally, additional acquisition projects are now being reviewed by DNR and Audubon, in hopes of again working together to enlarge and protect public lands in the IRC.  Funding for all projects here result from a bequest in the name of Carole Donovan, donated to the National Audubon Society for use only in Tama, Iowa and Benton counties.  Iowa Audubon, an independent Audubon Society, has worked closely with National Audubon to direct this money to the best uses for bird conservation here.  Watch for news of the next projects in our newsletter and on this website..

Jan 07, 2017
Every winter, Bald Eagles congreate in large numbers at locations across Iowa.  In fact, Iowa now hosts some of the largest numbers of wintering eagles in the U.S. outside of Alaska.  They concentrate on open water below dams on some of our larger rivers, such as the Mississippi, Iowa and Des Moines, as well as others, where they can easily feed upon fish.

To celebrate Bald Eagles and their return from near-extinction in the 1950s-60s, special Bald Eagle Day events are held at many locations across Iowa.  Each event siteis staffed with volunteers who will have bincoulars and spotting scopes for anyone who wants to view our nation bird up close.  Volunteers will also explain why the eagles are here in Iowa and in such large numbers.  Contact Iowa DNR for additional information about this winter's special eagle events, dates and locations.

May 31, 2014
Iowa Dedicates State’s First Globally Important Bird Area
Iowa Audubon and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources joined on Saturday, May 31, 2014, to officially dedicate DNR’s Effigy Mounds-Yellow River Forest Bird Conservation Area (BCA) as the state’s first “Globally Important Bird Area”. This international recognition highlights Iowa’s role in the global movement to study, protect and preserve at-risk birds. 

Important Bird Areas (IBAs) are part of an international system designating sites critical to declining species of birds for nesting or for large migratory concentrations. Several requirements must be met to achieve basic IBA status, and globally important status must be backed by extensive documentation for reaching such international standing.

“The particular bird that brought such recognition to NE Iowa is the Cerulean Warbler, a species that has declined by 70% nationally since the 1960s” said Doug Harr, President of Iowa Audubon, a statewide bird conservation and education organization based in Boone. “Bird researcher Jon Stravers, of Elkader, has spent several years documenting that Effigy Mounds National Monument, Yellow River State Forest and thousands of surrounding forested private lands provide some of the Midwest’s most critical Cerulean Warbler habitat”, Harr continued.

The IBA program is conducted worldwide by BirdLife International, based in Great Britain. Each nation provides a partner, which in the U.S. is the National Audubon Society, with Iowa Audubon conducting the program at local state level. In 2006, Iowa Audubon awarded IBA status to all of DNR’s Bird Conservation Areas, currently numbering 18 statewide. BCAs are large landscapes containing a core of permanently protected habitat, and where a good amount of suitable bird habitat exists on surrounding private lands. These sites offer large expanses of habitat for entire communities of bird life. Bruce Ehresman, DNR Wildlife Diversity Program Biologist and avian ecologist directs the agency’s BCA system.

“We are extremely pleased that one of our largest and best forested landscapes now has international recognition”, said Ehresman. “This BCA-IBA has tremendous value not only to Cerulean Warblers but also to a large variety of forest birds and other wildlife. Now we have good reason to assist with more protection and better management of woodlands both on public and private lands. International recognition might also result in a tourism increase—especially by birders—for northeast Iowa. That will, in turn, benefit the local economy.”

Iowa Audubon hopes to collect sufficient data to designate more Globally Important Bird Areas in the future.