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Bird Checklists of the United States

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge

small state map showing location

Prairie City, Iowa


Approximately, 85% of pre-settlement Iowa was once blanketed by native tallgrass prairie. Today, less than 1% of that prairie remains in small isolated fragments. As the tallgrass prairie disappeared, grassland bird populations associated with this prairie ecosystem also disappeared or greatly declined. Birds like the greater prairie chicken, once a common sight, are now merely a memory.

Over the past several years much of the Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge landscape has been transformed from crop land to tallgrass prairie. The reconstructed and restored prairies and savannas are providing food, cover, and breeding habitat for local and migratory birds. Each year, ornithologists conduct singing bird surveys and the results have shown that more and more grassland-dependent bird species are using the refuge.

Primary sources for this list include refuge personnel, local ornithologists, university researchers, and Iowa bird literature. Not all species listed have been observed within the refuge at the time this list was compiled, but regional distributions of species indicate that they may be observed in the future.


Symbols used are as follows:

* indicates nesting on the refuge has recently occurred
 
Sp March-May
S June-August
F September-November
W December-February
 
a abundant: a common species which is very numerous
c common: certain to be seen or heard in suitable habitat, not in large numbers
u uncommon: present but not always seen
o occasional: seen only a few times during the season
r rare: seen every 2 to 5 years


GREBES Sp S F W ___ Pied-billed Grebe c u u - ___ Red-necked Grebe r - r - ___ Western Grebe r - r -
PELICANS Sp S F W ___ American White Pelican o - r -
CORMORANTS Sp S F W ___ Double-crested Cormorant u - o -
HERONS and BITTERNS Sp S F W ___ Least Bittern r r - - ___ Great Blue Heron c c c - ___ Cattle Egret o r - - ___ Green Heron u r - - ___ Black-crowned Night-Heron r - - -
VULTURES Sp S F W ___ Turkey Vulture* u u u -
SWANS, GEESE, and DUCKS Sp S F W ___ Snow Goose o - r - ___ Canada Goose c c c o ___ Wood Duck u u u - ___ Gadwall o - r - ___ Mallard* c u c u ___ Blue-winged Teal* c c u - ___ Northern Shoveler* u r o - ___ Green-winged Teal o - o - ___ Ring-necked Duck o - o - ___ Lesser Scaup o - - - ___ Ruddy Duck o - o -
HAWKS and EAGLES Sp S F W ___ Osprey r - r - ___ Bald Eagle o o o o ___ Northern Harrier* u r u r ___ Sharp-shinned Hawk o - o o ___ Cooper's Hawk o - o o ___ Broad-winged Hawk o - r - ___ Swainson's Hawk o - o - ___ Red-tailed Hawk c c c c ___ Rough-legged Hawk o - o o
FALCONS Sp S F W ___ American Kestrel* c c c u
UPLAND GAME BIRDS Sp S F W ___ Ring-necked Pheasant* a a a a ___ Wild Turkey* u u u u ___ Northern Bobwhite* o o o o
RAILS and COOTS Sp S F W ___ Sora o o o - ___ American Coot c o o -
CRANES Sp S F W ___ Sandhill Crane r r r -
SHOREBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Black-bellied Plover r r r - ___ American Golden-Plover r - - - ___ Semipalmated Plover r - r - ___ Killdeer* a a a - ___ Greater Yellowlegs r - r - ___ Lesser Yellowlegs o - o - ___ Solitary Sandpiper o r r - ___ Spotted Sandpiper o r r - ___ Upland Sandpiper* r r r - ___ Least Sandpiper r r r - ___ Pectoral Sandpiper o r o - ___ Short-billed Dowitcher r - - - ___ Long-billed Dowitcher r - - - ___ Common Snipe* u o o - ___ American Woodcock* u u u - ___ Wilson's Phalarope r - - -
GULLS and TERNS Sp S F W ___ Franklin's Gull o - - - ___ Bonaparte's Gull r - r - ___ Ring-billed Gull o - o r ___ Herring Gull o - o o ___ Black Tern r - - -
DOVES Sp S F W ___ Rock Dove* c c c c ___ Mourning Dove* c c c u
CUCKOOS and ROADRUNNERS Sp S F W ___ Black-billed Cuckoo o r r - ___ Yellow-billed Cuckoo* u u u -
OWLS Sp S F W ___ Eastern Screech-Owl* o o o o ___ Great Horned Owl* u u u u ___ Barred Owl* u u u u ___ Short-eared Owl* r r r o
NIGHTHAWKS and NIGHTJARS Sp S F W ___ Common Nighthawk u c u - ___ Whip-poor-will r r - -
SWIFTS Sp S F W ___ Chimney Swift* u c u -
HUMMINGBIRDS Sp S F W ___ Ruby-throated Hummingbird* u u u -
KINGFISHERS Sp S F W ___ Belted Kingfisher* u u u -
WOODPECKERS Sp S F W ___ Red-headed Woodpecker* u u o o ___ Red-bellied Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Yellow-bellied Sapsucker* o u o - ___ Downy Woodpecker* c c c c ___ Hairy Woodpecker* u u u u ___ Northern Flicker* c c c u ___ Pileated Woodpecker r r r r
FLYCATCHERS Sp S F W ___ Olive-sided Flycatcher o - r - ___ Eastern Wood-Pewee c c c - ___ Yellow-bellied Flycatcher o r o - ___ Acadian Flycatcher* r r - - ___ Alder Flycatcher* r r - - ___ Willow Flycatcher* r r - - ___ Least Flycatcher* o - o - ___ Eastern Phoebe* o - o - ___ Great Crested Flycatcher* u c u - ___ Eastern Kingbird u c u -
SHRIKES Sp S F W ___ Loggerhead Shrike* u u - - ___ Northern Shrike o o o o
VIREOS Sp S F W ___ White-eyed Vireo - r r - ___ Bell's Vireo* - r - - ___ Solitary Vireo o o o - ___ Yellow-throated Vireo* o o - - ___ Warbling Vireo* u c u - ___ Philadelphia Vireo - r - - ___ Red-eyed Vireo* u c u -
JAYS, MAGPIES, and CROWS Sp S F W ___ Blue Jay* a a a a ___ American Crow* a a a a
LARKS Sp S F W ___ Horned Lark* c c c c
SWALLOWS Sp S F W ___ Purple Martin* r o r - ___ Tree Swallow* c c u - ___ Northern Rough-winged Swallow* o o - - ___ Bank Swallow* o o - - ___ Cliff Swallow* o u - - ___ Barn Swallow* c c c -
CHICKADEES and TITMICE Sp S F W ___ Black-capped Chickadee* a a a a ___ Tufted Titmouse u u u u
NUTHATCHES Sp S F W ___ Red-breasted Nuthatch o r r o ___ White-breasted Nuthatch* a a a a
CREEPERS Sp S F W ___ Brown Creeper u - u u
WRENS Sp S F W ___ House Wren* a a c - ___ Sedge Wren* u u u - ___ Marsh Wren o o - -
KINGLETS, BLUEBIRDS, and THRUSHES Sp S F W ___ Golden-crowned Kinglet - o o r ___ Ruby-crowned Kinglet c o c - ___ Blue-gray Gnatcatcher u u - - ___ Eastern Bluebird* u u u - ___ Veery o - - - ___ Gray-cheeked Thrush o o o - ___ Swainson's Thrush u o o - ___ Hermit Thrush u - u - ___ Thrush r r r - ___ American Robin* a a a o
MIMICS Sp S F W ___ Gray Catbird* u a a - ___ Northern Mockingbird o r - - ___ Brown Thrasher* - a a u
STARLINGS Sp S F W ___ European Starling c c c c
WAXWINGS Sp S F W ___ Cedar Waxwing* o c c r
WARBLERS Sp S F W ___ Blue-winged Warbler r - r - ___ Golden-winged Warbler o r o - ___ Tennessee Warbler c r c - ___ Orange-crowned Warbler o - o - ___ Nashville Warbler c - c - ___ Northern Parula o - - - ___ Yellow Warbler* c u u - ___ Chestnut-sided Warbler u - u - ___ Magnolia Warbler c - c - ___ Cape May Warbler o - r - ___ Yellow-rumped Warbler c - c - ___ Black-throated Green Warbler o - r - ___ Blackburnian Warbler u - u - ___ Yellow-throated Warbler r - - - ___ Palm Warbler c - c - ___ Bay-breasted Warbler u - r - ___ Blackpoll Warbler u - u - ___ Cerulean Warbler r - r - ___ Black-and-white Warbler c - u - ___ American Redstart c u c - ___ Prothonotary Warbler r - - - ___ Ovenbird c c u - ___ Northern Waterthrush o - o - ___ Louisiana Waterthrush r - - - ___ Kentucky Warbler r - - - ___ Connecticut Warbler r - - - ___ Mourning Warbler r - - - ___ Common Yellowthroat* c a c - ___ Wilson's Warbler c - c - ___ Canada Warbler o - r - ___ Yellow-breasted Chat* r - - -
TANAGERS Sp S F W ___ Summer Tanager r - - - ___ Scarlet Tanager* o o o -
SPARROWS, BUNTINGS, and GROSBEAKS Sp S F W ___ Eastern Towhee* u u o - ___ American Tree Sparrow c - c c ___ Chipping Sparrow* c c c r ___ Clay-colored Sparrow r r - - ___ Field Sparrow* c c c - ___ Vesper Sparrow* u u - - ___ Lark Sparrow* r r - - ___ Savannah Sparrow r - - - ___ Grasshopper Sparrow* r r - - ___ Henslow's Sparrow* r r - - ___ Le Conte's Sparrow r r - - ___ Fox Sparrow u - u - ___ Song Sparrow* a a a u ___ Lincoln's Sparrow u - u - ___ Swamp Sparrow* u u u - ___ White-throated Sparrow c - c r ___ White-crowned Sparrow u - u - ___ Harris's Sparrow u - u - ___ Dark-eyed Junco c - a a ___ Lapland Longspur o - - o ___ Snow Bunting - - - o ___ Northern Cardinal* a a a a ___ Rose-breasted Grosbeak* u c u - ___ Indigo Bunting* u c u - ___ Dickcissel* o c c -
BLACKBIRDS and ORIOLES Sp S F W ___ Bobolink* u u r - ___ Red-winged Blackbird* a a a r ___ Eastern Meadowlark* c a c o ___ Western Meadowlark* c a c o ___ Yellow-headed Blackbird - u - - ___ Rusty Blackbird o - o - ___ Common Grackle* u c c r ___ Great-tailed Grackle r r - - ___ Brown-headed Cowbird* c a a r ___ Orchard Oriole* o o - - ___ Baltimore Oriole* u c u -
FINCHES Sp S F W ___ Purple Finch u - o u ___ House Finch* c c c c ___ Pine Siskin o - - o ___ American Goldfinch* a a a a
OLD WORLD SPARROWS Sp S F W ___ House Sparrow* a a a a

Birdwatching is encouraged!  For more information, or to report any unusual sightings, please contact refuge personnel.
        Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
        Prairie Learning Center, Box 399
        Prairie City, Iowa 50228-0399

        Telephone: 515-994-3400
        Fax: 515-994-3459
        TTY: 1-800-877-8339 (Federal Relay)
        Website: http://midwest.fws.gov/nealsmith/

This resource is based on the following source:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  2001.  Neal Smith National Wildlife 
     Refuge Bird Checklist.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  2001.  Neal Smith National Wildlife 
     Refuge Bird Checklist.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.  
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govnsmith.htm 
     (Version 21FEB2003).

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