Bird watchers in the Lower Loess Hills region may see a greater diversity of species in the not-so-distant future. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is proposing a nearly 90,000-acre bird conservation area.
Bird conservation areas are created through a targeted effort on public and private lands to plant bird-friendly habitats in concentrated areas.
"You know if you think about what Iowa looked like historically with about 27 or 28 million acres of prairie, it was a huge landscape of habitat, and we’ve carved that up into little tiny pieces," says Bruce Ehresman, a wildlife diversity bird biologist for the DNR. "We’re trying to put back some of the pieces into larger pieces because they will benefit more species."
This conservation area would be Iowa’s 24th. Ehresman says it will contain 282 bird species, which is the most of all the conversation areas in the state.
The high degree of species diversity in this area is due to its variety of habitat, which includes grasslands, woodlands, and wetlands.