Birds of Des Moines

Black-tailed Gull by Reid Allen353 species of birds have been recorded in Polk County, many of which have been extraordinary sightings.  This Black-tailed Gull which appeared at Saylorville Reservoir in November 2007 is just one example.

Habitat ranges from the city of Des Moines where Peregrine Falcons have successfully been reintroduced on tall buildings to wooded corridors along the Des Moines and Raccoon rivers to broad expanses of grasslands and row crops.  Saylorville Reservoir on the Des Moines River north of the city offers interesting birding, especially in the spring, fall and winter, with it's myriad of water-related species as well as northern winter visitors.  Be sure to read our Birding By Month feature for more detail on things to see in these areas.  Our map of birding locations around the area may help you find some great birding areas.  Birders will also want a copy of The Makoke Trail - a Guide to Birding in Central Iowa.  This beautifully illustrated guide gives many more details of what to expect and where to go.

Western Kingbird by Reid AllenGenerally birds of the Des Moines area have an eastern flavor although we are also on the eastern edge of some western species.  For a number of years now Western Kingbirds have nested in the metro area, most notably aroung the statecapitol complex.

For a Polk County checklist visit the County Checklist page on the Iowa Ornithologists' Union site.

Upcoming Des Moines Audubon Events

Photo by Reid Allen

Next Meeting

Butterflies, Pollinators, Plants, and People - Declines in the number of domestic honey bees that began nearly a decade ago have led to increased interest in the “other” pollinators and what can be done by gardeners to promote and enhance the pollinator community on which much of our varied food supply depends. The 94% decline in the number of monarch butterflies (1996 to 2014) similarly has people wondering what they can do to help. What have you done for pollinators and butterflies lately? What more could you do? What more should you do? These and other questions and issues will be explored by Dr. Donald Lewis, ISU Extension & Outreach Entomologist. Be sure to bring your insect-related observations, anecdotes and questions for the Q&A. Donald Lewis is a Professor and Extension Entomologist with the Iowa State University Department of Entomology. Dr. Lewis is responsible for outreach education on insect pest management in turfgrass, trees and shrubs, fruit, vegetables and households.

Photo by Reid Allen

Next Field Trip

  Please contact Denny Thompson at 254-0837 or for more information.