Big Bluestem Mission:

To enjoy and study birds, other wildlife, plants, and many other facets of nature in order to gain a broader understanding and a deeper appreciation of the world we live in, and to encourage others to do likewise.

The BBAS Chapter meets monthly for programs from September thru May and sponsors Field Trips at least once a month.

Newsletters

Our newsletter is published four times a year and is full of news about our programs, reports from the many field trips, information on community events of interest to our members, and more!

Field Trips

The lifeblood of local Audubon chapters, our field trips provide so many varied experiences for participants. Join on for one that stays local or get more adventurous exploring Iowa and beyond.

Meetings

Meetings are held from September through May. In addition to the social aspects, our programs cover a wide range of subjects in natural history presented by some very talented people.

Birding Through the Year

© Doug Harr

Jan-Feb

During the harshest parts of winter, watch for Lapland Longspurs and Snow Buntings near the roadsides. Areas of open water may produce wintering waterfowl and more recently large concentrations of Trumpeter Swans.

© Doug Harr

Mar-Apr

Waterfowl migration starts off the season as ice goes out of lakes and ponds. Passerines begin to trickle in and by late April Eastern Bluebirds and Eastern Phoebes are already nesting. Excitement builds as a few neotropic migrants appear.

© Eric Ollie

May-Jun

For many people this is the highlight of the birding year. Color abounds as warblers blast through in a short timeframe on their way to the nesting grounds. Grosbeaks, buntings, orioles and hummingbirds arrive for nesting locally.

© Larry Dau

Jul-Aug

Morning song decreases now that nesting is nearly complete. Young birds are growing quickly and shorebird migration starts early. By the end of the time period southbound neotropic migrants will begin slowly making their way.

© Larry Dau

Sep-Oct

The leisurely fall migration is also a time to expect the unexpected. Birds with faulty internal compasses may show up at any time and there is usually a rare gull or jaeger that decides to move through mid-continent.

© Doug Harr

Nov-Dec

The season of Christmas Bird Counts provides a nice cross-over of late fall to early winter. The last of the waterfowl move through and hardier species begin to make their niche for the winter. Roadside birding after the first snow can be fun.

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General Resources

Iowa Audubon
statewide coalition of Audubon Chapters and other local birding groups in Iowa

Iowa Ornithologists' Union
statewide organization for all people interested in Iowa's birds

eBird
a handy tool for tracking your bird sightings and contributing to a global picture

All About Birds
ID help and other interesting information from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology