"Bringing together birders of all skill levels". The Iowa Ornithologists Union is a great organization and resource to have for beginner birders, as well as the experienced birder. Providing resources like where to bird, how to bird, and how to link with professionals in ornithology are some of the key attributes here. With a slogan like "WHO is an ornithologist?, YOU are an ornithologist!", they promote a rare developmental experience for all visitors and residents in our state to become involved in an enjoyable citizen science program.
Calkins Nature Area is Hardin County Conservation's environmental education center. The center provides Nature Exploration Backpacks, free to check out. The packs include copies of The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Peterson Field Guides' Reptiles and Amphibians, and the National Audubon Society's Field Guide to Wildflowers. Also included in the packs are a set of Bushnell binoculars, excellent for viewing birds from a distance.
Hardin County Conservation proudly owns a mobile bird blind trailer. This camouflaged trailer is decked out for the ultimate birding experience. Although typically placed at Calkins Nature Area, Legacy Wildlife Area, or Pintail Wetland, this observatory can be taken anywhere. Contact Hardin County Conservation at 641-648-4361 for more information.
Hardin County Conservation manages the Calkins Nature Area facilitiy. These facilities use to be home to a well renowned wildlife rehabilitator, Homer Calkins. The HCCB and Calkins staff are no longer equipped to handle such crises, but still take many calls throughout the year. We currently maintain a live animal exhibit, hosting a barred owl, snowy owl, great horned owl, two red tail hawks, and a variety of native ducks and upland game birds. Injured birds can be brought to or rescued by Calkins staff, and will then be transferred to professional wildlife rehabbers.
The Christmas Bird Count is a great way to get involved with citizen science, especially if you're an avid birder. Seek out and document as many bird species as you can, following the program's criteria. This is held between December 14th and January 5th of each year. Click on the Audubon Christmas Bird Count heading above, or their logo to visit their website for more details.
eBird is an online tool that is free to use with a registered account. Birders can document their sightings with either photo or written documentation, and use a GPS pinpoint to log their entries. You can also view lists of documented species, some with photos included, in some of our specific wildlife management areas, or throughout the entire county. We currently have 270 recorded species.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's website has a statement which reads "We bring together scientists, students, and people from all walks of life in the quest to generate new knowledge and conserve our shared natural world. You can help." Their statement could not be more in line with the resources and opportunities that they drive. This is a great tool for birders on all levels to have access to, and deepen the knowledge of citizen scientists. They also have a mobile app!