"May 5-15 is the absolute peak of Iowa spring migration in terms of overall diversity," according to Stephen Dinsmore with Iowa State University, and Fremont County in the southwestern corner of the state is one of the best places to see migrating birds. A 1991 Big Day count in Fremont County found 171 species of birds. Right now is the perfect time to go birding in southwest Iowa!
Global Big Day is an annual celebration of the birds around you. This year, it is Saturday, May 8--which is also World Migratory Bird Day.
To participate in Global Big Day, "report your bird observations to eBird online or with our free eBird Mobile app. If you have more time, submit checklists of birds throughout the day. You never know what you might spot. Your observations help us better understand global bird populations through products like these animated abundance maps brought to you by eBird Science."
"World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) will imbue the activity of birdwatching, a past time enjoyed by some 86 million Americans, with deeper meaning. WMBD will teach participants at more than 700 locations from Argentina to Canada how to identify birds, how to connect with them, and how to delve deeper into bird biology, investigating such topics as the difference between birdsong and call, the mysteries of migration, and the astounding power of flight." Visit their website and watch the video below to learn more.
May is also American Wetlands Month. Fremont County has some of the largest wetland complexes in the region, including Riverton Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and several WMAs along the Missouri River. Learn more about wetlands here.
WMAs are typically open to hunting so be cognizant of that during waterfowl season. Outside of hunting season, WMAs are still excellent places to go birding and wildlife-watching. While Iowa has among the lowest amounts of public lands of all states, Fremont County has among the most public land per capita in Iowa. In addition to wetlands, the Missouri and Nishnabotna rivers are migratory flyways, and the prairies and woods of the Loess Hills provide diverse habitats for upland species.
Learn more about places to go birding, download a pdf of Fremont County's bird list, and find many other birding resources at goldenhillsrcd.org/birding.
In addition to birding opportunities, Fremont County offers many other outdoor recreation activities, and Golden Hills is coordinating events to encourage people to explore and enjoy the area. Visit our Fremont County Outdoor Adventures page for details.
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