Friday, April 22, 2016

Lucas County's "Big Day(s) of Birding" during late May

Just in case you've missed it, here's the big spread about Lucas County's first Big Day(s) of Birding --- scheduled for Friday evening and Saturday, May 20 and 21 --- as published in the May-June edition of "Iowa Outdoors," magazine of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (right-click and open in new windows to read the text).

Lots of folks, but most especially birding enthusiasts, are atwitter (sorry, but that had to be written) about the event, a joint project of the Tourism Division of Chariton Area Chamber/Main Street, Iowa Audubon, the DNR, Lucas County Conservation Commission, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service and others.

All events are free --- and open to all birders experienced and otherwise, or with no experience at all.

There will be a public program at 7 p.m. Friday, May 20, in the Lodge at Pin Oak Marsh, staging area for the event. 

On Saturday, five volunteer teams will leave the Lodge early to spend the day visiting 24 designated areas on public and private land across the county in hopes of lengthening the county's bird species list, which currently stands at 238. Van transportation and other amenities will be provided to these teams.

The Lodge also will be launching point on Saturday for a series of shorter free field trips  for those without the time, stamina or interest for day-long commitments. Wrap-up events will be held at the Lodge on Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

Because the size of the five volunteer teams will be limited, those interested in joining one of them must register by May 7 by contacting Doug Harr, of Iowa Audubon, at More information about the event in general may be obtained by contacting Chariton Area Chamber/Main Street at (641) 774-4059.

Lucas, which has some of the best bird habitat in the state, is the only Iowa county that contains two Iowa DNR-designated "Bird Conservation Areas." These areas also are listed as "Important Bird Sites" under a worldwide program administered by the Great Britain-based Birdlife International. Most of the two designated areas falls within various units of Stephens State Forest in southwest and northeast Lucas County.

The birding events are financed in part by a REAP community education mini-grant. Organizers hope that an annual Big Day of Birding will become an established attraction in Lucas County.

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