Iowa Bird Watching and Feeding Information

Iowa is a great place to watch and feed birds. Birdbaths, misters and drippers are especially effective in attracting birds, including non seed-eating species. Species that might be expected at feeders include: American Goldfinch, Carolina Wren, Black-capped Chickadee, Blue Jay, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Cardinal and Mourning Dove. Each of these species is shown in the Nifty Fifty mini-guide.

The Nifty Fifty

The Nifty Fifty is a mini-guide to the birds of Iowa. It includes descriptions, images, video and songs of 50 of the most often observed birds of Iowa. View the guide by clicking here or on the Nifty Fifty link on the left.

If the guide does not load, try downloading the free Flash player.


american goldfinch

American Goldfinch - Iowa State Bird

Bird feeding

Developing bird-friendly habitat in your yard is the best way to attract a greater variety of species and to support local and migrating species. Native plants provide food and cover, are more insect and disease resistant than non-native species, and may require less water. A list of bird-friendly native plants for Iowa are available by following the link on the left.


The Eastern Bluebirds is the only one of the three bluebird species that is regularly found in Iowa.

They are most often found in open woodlands, parks, fields, along golf courses and cemeteries. The can be found in suburban areas with adequate open space.

The Eastern Bluebird has a pleasant, musical song and a similar easy-to-identify flight call. 


eastern bluebird

Eastern Bluebirds

Bluebirds can be attracted to peanut butter mixes, suet and fruit. Raisins soaked in hot water to soften them are well received. The bluebird's special favorite is mealworms.

In Iowa, nesting commences as early as March and continues well into the summer. One and sometimes two or even three broods are produced.

Isolated reports of Mountain Bluebirds have occurred in Iowa.

Visit the bluebird section for detailed information on feeding bluebirds or building your own bluebird house. 


The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only species that regularly visits Iowa. It nests in the state each year, before migrating south. It flies across the Gulf of Mexico twice each year.

Visit the hummingbird section for details on attracting hummingbirds as well as images of all regularly occurring North American hummingbirds.


ruby-throated hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird 

Purple Martins

Purple Martins arrive in Iowa in early spring, returning from their wintering grounds in South America. Check the Purple Martin section for information on martins in Iowa.

Detailed Purple Martin information is available in the Purple Martin section.


purple martin

Purple Martin, male 


Iowa provides birders with a variety of exciting birding locations.

The birding section of this site has tips on birding locations and bird identification. The state-based birding information section provides additional birding related information.

Iowa Resource Information

Big Bluestem Audubon Society

Cedar Rapids Audubon Society

Dubuque Audubon Society
PO Box 3174
Dubuque, IA 52004
Maggie O'Connell, President

Loess Hills Audubon Society
PO Box 5133
Sioux City, IA 51102-5133
Northern Iowa Prairie Lakes Audubon Society

Prairie Rapids Audubon Society
PO Box 682
Waterloo, IA 50704

Quad City Audubon Society
PO Box 81
Bettendorf, IA 52722

Rolling Hills Audubon Society
317 6th Av
Des Moines, IA 50309

Southeast Iowa Audubon Society
908 E Briggs Ave
Fairfield, IA 52556

Tallgrass Prairie Audubon Society
9 College Park Road
Grinnell, IA 50112

Upper Iowa Audubon Society
24589 70th St
Cresco, IA 52136

Additional resources

If you have suggestions for additional resources for watching or feeding birds in Alabama, please submit them using this form. The resource does not need to be a particular location.

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