This is a very special bird migration time! The migrating birds just arrived at our place in Spillville yesterday. What a splash of color they bring to the landscape. Did you know that May 10th is International Migratory Bird Day? The second Saturday in May is International Migratory Bird Day because it’s peak time to see migrating birds. Each year at this time thousands of migrating birds travel through our area from as far away as South America and beyond. Get your binoculars out and get outdoors for a bird walk in your area. I also bring my field guide called “Birds of Iowa” book that has a checklist in the back that I bought at a local bookstore.
If you would like a guided tour, Effigy Mounds National Monument is a perfect place for a bird walk. On Saturday, May 10 at Effigy Mounds starting at 10 a.m. meet at the visitors center. I’m excited to meet former park ranger Dennis Kirschbaum who will guide us on a 90 minute walk on the park trails. He will provide a checklist, so bring a pen along to see how many migrating birds you can find. He will have lots of useful information for the beginning or even an expert birder. One year in my own backyard I saw two very unusual migrating birds. After that, I was hooked on birding and look forward to this time each year! With the rain finally gone and the promise of warmer temperatures, it will be great to be outside enjoying nature!
Why do birders go to Effigy Mounds during migration time? Being so close to the Mississippi River it is a flyway area for many migrating birds. What kind of migrating birds do we see in northeast Iowa? Indigo buntings, rose-breasted grosbeaks, Baltimore and orchard orioles, blue birds, ruffed grouse, Carolina wrens, meadowlarks, warblers, turkeys and more. One year I saw a spring-summer tanager and a Cape May warbler too!
To get to Effigy Mounds, go about three miles north of Marquette to the main entrance on HWY 76. What better way to kick off Mother’s Day weekend then a walk with Mother Nature! If you live in Decorah, you might want to go on their migration walk also. No matter how you enjoy nature, now is a perfect time to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather.