You may see plenty of robins and sparrows at the backyard feeder, but an expert says about one-third of Iowa’s bird species are declining in population. Bruce Ehresman, of Boone, is a biologist with the Iowa D.N.R’s Wildlife Diversity Program. Ehresman says a new bird conservation area is proposed for north central Iowa.

“This is just an area we’ve drawn a magic line around and it encompasses 78,000 acres but only about 16-percent of that is in public land,” Ehresman says. “Basically, these are focal areas to do better bird conservation work.” The new conservation area will be formally presented Wednesday night during a meeting at Brushy Creek State Park south of Duncombe in Webster County.

The proposed area is in parts of Webster and Hamilton counties. “At least a third of our bird species in Iowa are declining,” Ehresman says. “What we’re trying to do is focus on a larger landscape, try to manage at a larger scale and help a lot of these birds that need a larger area to survive, especially our forest and nesting birds. They seem to be declining pretty greatly.”

If approved, this will be Iowa’s 16th such bird conservation area. The first one was established in 2001. Ehresman says the meeting is a starting point for the area. He says they’ll offer landowners technical advice and a chance to talk about the conservation area as a concept.

If there’s no opposition, the area should be ready to be dedicated in about two months. For more information about Iowa’s bird conservation areas, visit “” or call 515-432-2823.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City