May in Iowa – Birds

Canada Goose and goslings swimming in wetlands

Canada Geese are an early nesting species. It is not uncommon for me to see a goose on its nest with a fresh snowfall blanketing the area. I usually start looking for the newly-hatched goslings in early May. But, I have found them in April and late May. 

I was kayaking Dunbar Slough in mid-May when I came across this goose with her goslings in tow. I am amazed how the tiny goslings can keep up with their parent. 

Canada Goose and goslings swimming in wetlands
Canada Goose and Goslings

May is also an active time for Warbler migration, into and through Iowa. I believe 38 species have been recorded in Iowa with only about 18 species known to nest here. Most warblers have an affinity for trees. Unfortunately, we are not blessed with many forests in the western part of Iowa; a former prairie area. And, many species of warblers hang out high in the tree canopy, making photography difficult. But, it is so fun to spot these colorful birds as they move through my part of the state.

Not every day is created equal for viewing our small songbirds during migration. Some days, it is hard to find a hand-full of warblers. Yet, at other times, it is hard to know which bird to concentrate on first. 

Chestnut-sided Warbler on tree branch
Chestnut-sided Warbler

I am torn between watching birds and photographing them. The birder in me wants to identify as many birds as possible. The photographer in me strives for nice, clean close-up shots. Most times, the photographer part of me wins. I will concentrate on a couple of birds for hours.

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