Birds

There are birds of all shapes and sizes to be found in this area of Iowa if one goes to look. While we cannot take an in-depth look at them all, several of the most common are listed on the side for a look at in greater depth. Below are some general facts and information about birds.

There are 9,865 species of birds alive today, according to the IUCN. Of these, 914 are native to North America. Iowans have the chance to see 425 of them (a list of the species can be found here- http://www.iowabirds.org/birds/. The defining characteristic of birds is their unique feathers. All birds reproduce with eggs, do not have teeth.
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Migratory Birds
Chances are, somewhere in the distance you can hear one of the migratory birds that call Iowa home in the summer months. Migratory birds travel during certain times of the year in order to find food and to breed. Most migrate to high latitudes during spring and summer and to lower latitudes for fall and winter. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is the federal agency responsible for management of migratory birds, wildlife within National Parks and
Refuges, and federally endangered or threatened species (in cooperation with states). Management responsibilities for migratory birds are also shared with Canada and Mexico under the terms of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.
Fun Facts About Birds
The size difference between a hummingbird egg (left) and an ostrich egg (right).
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  • The chicken is the closest living relative to the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
  • The smallest bird egg belongs to the hummingbird and is the size of a pea. The largest bird egg, from which the ostrich hatches, is the size of a cantaloupe
  • A bird’s eye takes up about 50 percent of its head; our eyes take up about 5 percent of our head. To be comparable to a bird’s eyes, our eyes would have to be the size of baseballs.
  • When it comes to birds, the males tend to have the more glamorous feather shape, coloration, songs, and dances. Female birds choose their mate based on how attractive they find them!
  • According to National Geographic, scientists have an answer for the age old dispute over which came first, the chicken or the egg. Reptiles were laying eggs thousands of years before chickens appeared. The first chicken came from an egg laid by a bird that was not quite a chicken. Therefore, the egg came first.
  • The earliest known bird, Archaeopteryx lithographica, lived about 150 million years ago during the Jurassic Period.