May 9, 2024 - News

How Iowans can help migrating birds

A map showing that Iowa has some high migration activity

Map: Courtesy of Van Doren, B. M and Horton, K. G. BirdCast. Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Colorado State University

Millions of birds are expected to migrate through Iowa and the Midwest over the next few nights, according to the Iowa DNR.

Why it matters: Early May is peak spring migration time in Iowa and birds need insects to eat as they move up north.

  • 550 million birds are expected to move through the state this migration period, which ends late May, says Anna Buckardt Thomas, Iowa DNR avian ecologist.

How you can help: Limit pesticide and fertilizer use. A scarcity of insects can hinder migration and breeding, and lead to weaker immune systems.

  • And don't rake this month — decaying leaves help attract insects that are good for birds' diets.
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