Imagine Northeast Iowa

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Birding Hotspots in Northeast Iowa: Now You Know Where to Go!
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Birding Hotspots in Northeast Iowa: Now You Know Where to Go!

The Driftless Area forms the geology and informs the ecology of four states: Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The last glacial advance did not touch these areas and the surrounding melting glaciers carved the valley, filled the floodplains, and left steep cliffs, deep valleys, and rich riverine wetlands. The incredibly rich bottomlands adjacent to the river valley fed the passage of migrating wildlife, such as hawks and eagles, egrets and cranes, ducks and geese, herons and terns, warblers and orioles.

Birding Hotspots: 

Spring and Fall Migrations:

  • Anywhere along the Mississippi River

Allamakee County:

  • Effigy Mounds National Monument
  • Pool Slough Wildlife Management Area
  • Yellow River State Forest
  • Yellow River State Forest – Paint Creek, Effigy Mounds National Monument – North Unit

Clayton County:

  • Pikes Peak State Park
  • Sny Magill Wildlife Management Area
  • Frenchtown County Park
  • Island Road
  • Bloody Run County Park

Winneshiek County:

  • Cardinal Marsh State Wildlife Area
  • Lake Meyer County Park
  • Seed Savers Exchange
  • Decorah’s Eagles
  • Phelps Park

Birding Festivals include:

Mississippi River Boat Tours:

Common sightings include: Bald Eagle, all manners of ducks, including American Coot, Canvasback, Lesser Scaup, and Mallard, Canada Goose, Tundra Swan, American White Pelican, Snow Goose, Ring-Billed Gull, songbirds such as the Red-Winged Blackbird, Blue Jay, American Goldfinch, American Robin, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Northern Cardinal, Black-Capped Chickadee, Eastern Bluebird, Baltimore Oriole, and Red Headed Woodpecker, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, American Crow, Wild Turkey, Ring-Necked Pheasant, Turkey Vulture, and a variety of neotropical migrants.

And if the outdoors is not for you, you can always watch a live video of the Decorah Bald Eagle’s nest without ever leaving your office!

Photo caption: Jon Stravers holds a captured red-tailed hawk at Hawk Watch 2014 at the Driftless Area Wetlands Centre. Photo by: Ryan Elliott


  1. Imagine Northeast Iowa Support
    Imagine Northeast Iowa Support
    What a terrific list! Thanks so much for posting it. We hope to read more from you soon!

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