As I mentioned in my Monday Musings, I’ve already started to have birds show up on my balcony! In hopes of attracting more I’ve decided to prioritize getting a feeder up, although I don’t know if it will get much use until I have some plants out there to provide shelter for more cautious birds. This week’s book, Iowa Bird Watching, was a great introductory resource for a beginning Iowa bird-watcher or for someone like me who is mostly hoping to watch birds from home. The book includes lists of the best places to go birding and of the top ten must-see birds in Iowa. In addition, there are beautiful pictures provided for the 100 most common birds in Iowa. The sections I found most helpful were the bits on what to feed different birds and a list of bird-friendly plants.
The book was well-written with lots of fun facts about each of the 100 most common Iowa birds. I mostly skimmed the description of each bird, just because 100 birds is a lot to get through! Plus, I knew what I really wanted right now was to find when I could find each bird in Iowa (shown on a handy map on each page) and which birds I could expect to attract to a feeder (indicated by an icon at the top of each page). I appreciated how easy it was to find this information and enjoyed reading the summaries provided for each bird.
Although I got this book mostly to help me attract birds to my balcony, I do think it could be a lot of fun to try a little bird-watching at other locations. As a complete novice birder, I wish that the book had included more specific ranges for each bird, instead of just describing the sort of habitat where you might find them. I expect I can find most of this information online though at bird-tracking sites like eBird. The book did provide some links, mostly up-to-date, to birding resources online and I’ve included some of them here:
- a page with links to many Iowa birding resources, including a checklist for tracking birds you’ve seen
- a list of the Iowa chapters of the Audubon society
- a local wildlife preserve with birding opportunities
- the great bird count website, hosts a bird count once a year
- an article on the Great Backyard Bird Count by The Creative Cat
- a year round bird tracking site, keeps a list of birds you’ve sighted
Iowa Bird Watching – 4 stars – a solid introductory book with good pictures and easily accessible information, but didn’t really pull me in.