There are two bird blinds for park users to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature located at Jester Park near Shelter #6 and at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt just west of the Longhouse. Bird blinds are great places to observe birds. Inside the blind, you can take a seat and watch birds in their natural setting. Bird feeders are filled regularly to attract birds to the immediate area.
A recently constructed wildlife viewing platform is located at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt adjacent to Hwy 65. This platform area has spotting scopes installed, is easily accessible, and has a parking lot and restroom facilities.
Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt is designated as a Bird Conservation Area by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society. Chichaqua, in conjunction with the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge, encompasses about 76,500 acres, 15,000 acres of which are protected for wildlife. Click here to download a brochure about this Bird Conservation Area which includes a field guide checklist.
Saylorville Reservoir is designated as a Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society. Saylorville Reservoir is located on the Des Moines River about 4 miles north of Interstate 80/35 north of Des Moines. Land on both sides of the reservoir is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers and includes several access points on both sides of the lake. County owned Jester Park on the west shore of the northern part of the reservoir also offers good access to some important birding areas. Big Creek State Park and adjacent state wildlife areas provide important upland habitat. Click here to view a Bird Checklist for Saylorville Reservoir.
Click here to watch a video to learn more about some common Iowa backyard birds.
For more information about birds in Iowa visit the Iowa Birds and Birding website.