Iowa’s seen an influx of tourists flying into the state in recent weeks — but their arrival is more exciting to naturalists than to the travel bureau. Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Bruce Ehresman says large flights of migrating birds have been landing in Iowa — ahead of schedule. He says shore birds, pelicans and warblers are showing up, which he says is a little early, especially for the warblers, as he says they typically start showing up in September. Ehresman can’t say exactly why the birds might be flying in earlier. He says he knows there was not a good nesting season up north in Canada and that could be part of the reason. He says the cooler summer could also be part of the reason. Some Iowans may’ve been surprised to see large flights of birds like pelicans that’re typically seen along the coasts of the U.S. But Ehresman says their arrival in Iowa isn’t out of the ordinary.He says the pelican numbers have been increasing for a number of years, with even four to six hundred showing up fifteen years ago. Ehresman says there are now larger numbers of pelicans migrating and we can see groups of 500 to one thousand. Ehresman says there are three areas that seem to be attracting the most pelicans. He says the Saylorville Reservoir is an excellent place to see pelicans. He says the Red Rock Reservoir near Runnels and the Corallville Reservoir are also good places to see the birds. Ehresman says there’s also been big flocks of pelicans at the Union Hills Wildlife area 10 miles south of Clear Lake in Cerro Gordo County. Ehresman says raptors such as hawks and eagles should start migrating into the state as we get deeper into September.
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