Winneshiek County was designated a Bird Friendly Iowa Community at the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors meeting Monday, June 29.

Bird Friendly Iowa designation is awarded through a competitive application process to communities that demonstrate a strong commitment to preserving and expanding bird habitat and encouraging citizens to engage in birding, bird conservation, and related outdoor recreation activities. Winneshiek County is one of only three counties in Iowa to have received Bird Friendly Iowa designation.

Specifically, Winneshiek County is being recognized for their efforts to educate and engage the public about birds, reduce threats to birds, and protect, restore and enhance the habitats that birds rely on. The county-wide efforts toward these goals include managing parks and other natural areas to promote diverse, native habitat, leading bird hikes and conducting birdhouse building workshops, and limiting roadside mowing before July 15 to help protect ground-nesting birds, among many other efforts

“Birds are an extremely important means of connecting communities and citizens with our environment,” said Dan Cohen of the Bird Friendly Iowa Steering Committee. “Birds serve as indicators of healthy soil, water, air, native vegetation, and other natural resources. Providing quality bird habitat can help reverse the dramatic decline of populations of birds, Monarch butterflies, and other critical components of biodiversity, locally or even at statewide and higher levels.

The application for designation was coordinated by Winneshiek County Conservation.

“Many departments, organizations, and individuals across Winneshiek County work hard to protect, support, and enjoy our birds,” said Barb Schroeder, director of Winneshiek County Conservation. “Bird Friendly Iowa recognition honors that collective work and will help our entire community continue to ensure we have healthy, diverse birds long into the future.” 

Bird Friendly Iowa is a partnership of several Iowa conservation organizations, agencies and individuals including Trees Forever, Iowa Audubon, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, Iowa DNR, Iowa Wildlife Center, Iowa Ornithologists’ Union, and the Iowa County Conservation System.

More information about Bird Friendly Iowa, including instructions on how Iowa communities and counties can apply for this special recognition, is at www.BirdFriendlyIowa.org.