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Conquer Your Iowa Bird Checklist with 'Birding on the Green'
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Conquer Your Iowa Bird Checklist with 'Birding on the Green'

Dickinson County Nature Center naturalist intern Jessica Tramp has been exploring the Iowa Great Lakes area to see what birds she can spot.

The wetland areas have been alive as breeding season reaches its peak, and she has documented northern shovelers, pied-billed grebes, coot, and a variety of other species.

She’s excited that part of her job at the nature center in Okoboji will entail some birding, as the annual Birding on the Green series kicks off for the 2016 season at 7 a.m. Monday, May 2. Participants meet at the Brooks National Golf Club in Okoboji and take golf carts through the course each month to document species.

An average of 40-60 avian species are identified at each event, which is led by experienced area birders Ed Thelen and Lee Schoenewe, who can help both beginners and experienced birders alike identify species not only by sight but also by sound. Interesting species spotted in the past have included kingbirds, bluebirds, wood ducks and migrating warblers.

Tramp is also hoping to check some more birds off her list.

“I would like to see what woodpeckers might be there, maybe some flickers,” she said, adding she has dreams of spotting a scarlet tanager too. “They are supposed to be here now. I would love to see one.”

Birding on the Green is held each month May-September: May 2, June 6, July 11, Aug. 1 and Sept. 12.

The May and September events often have the most winged creatures identified because a variety of species migrate through the area at that time. Plus, Tramp has spotted a variety of water birds throughout the area that have been active during breeding season, and the May Birding on the Green might afford participants a chance to see species such as northern shovelers and pied-billed grebes.

Brooks National Golf Club is the perfect place to check items off of your bird checklist, because it is an Audubon-certified golf course that draws a variety of species of songbirds, raptors, and waterfowl. Birding on the Green has been a successful partnership for the conservation board and golf course, because the course can keep its Audubon certification by having this active bird inventory, and it’s a wonderful outdoor experience for the conservation board to offer.

If you don’t get your fill of birds during Birding on the Green, stop inside the Dickinson County Nature Center to see exhibits on bird nests and the Okoboji osprey or visit the nature center website to watch the osprey’s daily life on our live nest cam.

For more information on Birding on the Green or other events, call 712-336-6352 or keep up with the latest happenings at the nature center on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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