Birding Trails

Scattered across Iowa, one can find many birding trails. Some are complete, and others are in the development phase.

Scattered across Iowa, one can find many birding trails. Some are complete, and others are in the development phase. These trails, covering expanses of roadways across many miles, offer birders, naturalists, and eco-tourists opportunities to explore diverse habitats near home and in distant places. Birding trails are essentially driving routes linking prime birding locations.

In Jasper County, the South Skunk Birding Area includes the JCCB managed parcels South Skunk, Carpenter, Pheasants Forever Unit of South Skunk, Kish-Ke-Kosh, Foreman, and Machin. This area is made up of 610 acres (370 acres under NRCS wetland easement) with 162 identified species. All of these properties are located immediately adjacent to the Skunk River east of Monroe and southeast of Reasnor. The area contains a wide range of habitats such as native prairie remnants, riparian woodlands, oak/hickory woodlands, river and wetlands and also has a river access near it for birding/exploring the South Skunk River.

Notes for Birding the Area

Some designated parking areas but no established trails. This area caters to a birder wishing to experience the wilder side of Iowa. There is a nearby river access for exploration and wildlife viewing on the South Skunk River. In this area also is the Kish-Ke-Kosh Prairie, a 16 acres state prairie preserve located 0.5 mile southeast of Reasnor. It contains a remnant sand prairie that mantles an unusual upland projection into the South Skunk River valley. The sand was blown out of the river valley about 4,000 years ago. The preserve was named in honor of a chief of the Fox tribe who lived in the area in the mid-1880s. Big and little bluestem, Indian grass, and prairie dropseed dominate the prairie, with various forbs, including a sand puccoon, marbleseed, prairie larkspur, and vast blooms of rough blazing star.

Best Time to Visit

March through November

Birds to Look for

  • Cape May Warbler
  • Yellow-breasted Chat
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • American Woodcock
  • Black-billed Cuckoo
  • Northern Saw-whet Owl
  • Sedge Wren
  • Henslow’s Sparrow
  • Bobolink

Rarities Seen

  • Black Scoter
  • Red-breasted Merganser
  • Pacific Loon
  • Prairie Falcon

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