Polk County Designated a Bird Friendly Community
Bird Friendly Iowa announced that Polk County is among the first counties in Iowa to be designated as a Bird Friendly Community. Polk County is committed to preserving and expanding habitat and encourages citizens to engage in birding, bird conservation and related outdoor recreation activities.
“Birds are an extremely important means of connecting communities and citizens with our environment,” said the Bird Friendly Iowa Steering Committee. “Birds serve as indicators of healthy soil, water, air, native vegetation, and other natural resources. Providing quality bird habitat can help reverse the dramatic decline of populations of birds, Monarch butterflies, and other critical components of biodiversity, locally or even at statewide and higher levels.”
Polk County Conservation staff pursued the Bird Friendly Iowa recognition. The Bird Friendly Iowa program focuses on educating and engaging the public about birds, reducing threats to birds, and protecting, restoring and enhancing the habitats birds rely on. Listed below is some of the criteria met during the application process:
- County has prepared a habitat assessment or management plan for one or more of its natural areas or parks, and is implementing the plan.
- A list of bird species present has been completed for one or more designated areas in the County, and has been updated within the past three years.
- County public land management and/or acquisition details priority for native habitat for birds, plants and other wildlife.
- The County has a program to reduce pesticide use on public lands and/or an educational effort to reduce pesticide use on private lands.
- The County strongly discourages destruction and removal of bird and wildlife native habitat during nesting seasons.
- County staff and volunteers actively educate about birds, which includes providing information about identification, natural history, habitat needs, and/or environmental and human threats to bird populations.
- The County provides age-appropriate public programming on one or more bird information topics. This may include field trips, speaker series, displays, or other media.
- The County has developed structure(s) for the purpose of facilitating nesting of birds, such as ospreys, trumpeter swans, barn owls, kestrels, peregrine falcons, and chimney swifts, which is visible to the public and includes interpretive signage or other media.
Bird Friendly Iowa is a partnership of several Iowa conservation organizations, agencies and individuals including Trees Forever, Iowa Audubon, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Iowa DNR, Iowa Wildlife Center, Iowa Ornithologists’ Union and the Iowa County Conservation System.
More information about Bird Friendly Iowa, including instructions on how Iowa communities and counties can apply for this special recognition is at www.BirdFriendlyIowa.org.