Rare Birds Stimulate Economy
by Rick Hollis
Two unusual birds are being seen around Iowa, and I want to take a moment to point out that birds like this stimulate the economy as birders from all over the state [and in some cases beyond] drive to see them. The birders buy gas, eat meals, etc.
A Roseate Spoonbill has been seen at Hawkeye Wildlife Area the past few days. This has been quite a treat, as they are not very common in Iowa. This bird appears to be the fifth state record. It has been quite a treat for local birders, and birders from around the state. When I went and saw it Sunday, during a short time I saw cars from the following counties: Johnson , Linn, Polk, and Story. Looking at the message on Facebook sites and the listserve, there have been many more.
This Spoonbill is the state’s 5threcord for this species.
1960 Aug Union Slough, Kossuth
1997 August Waubonsie WA Fremont
2018 August, Hawkeye Wildlife Area, Johnson
2012 September, Jester P Polk
2014 July-August, Frazer’s Bend, Fremont
Its body size is similar to the Ring-billed Gulls, but it is taller due to the long neck and legs. It is considerably smaller than the American White Pelicans with whom it is often seen. The Spoonbill weighs 3+ pounds, while the Pelicans are 16+.
Spoonbills typically feed in water only a few inches deep, sweeping their slightly open bill back and forth to stir up the water and mud. When it feels the something to eat [crustaceans, insects, bits of plants, they snap their bill closed.
Please note the photograph is not mine, but is used with permission. The person who took ask that I not use their name as they do not want to be famous.
At the same time that the Spoonbill was being seen in Johnson Co, and equally bizarre bird was being seen in Story Co. Painted Buntings have so strange bill or anything, but they are colored as if the artist had use every pain in their pallet.
This is the state’s 14threcord
1986 January, Davenport, Scott
1996 May, Ft Defiance SP, Emmet
2001 May, Arney Bent WA, Marshall
2005 Jun, near Denison, Crawford
2006 May, Brookside P, Ames
2007 May-July, Brookside P, Ames
2007 May, Chester, Howard
2008 May, Brookside P, Ames
2011 May, Dunbar Slough, Greene
2013 May, Shenandoah, Page
2014 May, St Charles, Madison
2015 June, Williams, Wright
2018 May, Sergeant Bluff, Woodbury
2018 August, Ada Hayden Heritage Park, Story