Finding Birds in Iowa

where to go

Philadelphia Vireo photo by Larry DauBirds can be found anywhere. Maybe you just enjoy sitting in your backyard or watching through your front window. While feeder operations may bring the birds close enough to see many details, you may be surprised by just how many species can be seen nearby just by looking in the trees, shrubs, and up in the sky.


When you want to venture a bit further from the home front to find even more species, you may want to follow some of the specific sites outlined in our birding guides. These have been written by many of Iowa's top birders and many have been published in Iowa Bird Life. While not absolutely geographically correct, the state has been divided into four quadrants separated by Interstate 80 east to west and Interstate 35 north to south to aid you in finding site guides.


Can't find Pinchey Bottoms on your map? Our birding hotspots give birders a quick way to find those elusive sites mentioned on the IA-BIRD Listserve and in the Rare Bird Alert. Another site worth checking is the USGS Geographic Names Information System. Once you know where you're going, check out the various maps available, including a special article on how to use the GIS maps on the ISU server.


The IOU partners with Iowa Audubon to designate Iowa's Important Bird Areas. These locations are important for breeding and migratory birds which have been classified as endangered, threatened, or species of conservation concern. Learn more about this important program as well as something about the sites and birding them.