Orioles are colorful bird arrivals in May | News, Sports, Jobs

PHOTOS BY GARRY BRANDENBURG – Neotropical birds will make a big push to arrive in Iowa in May. Their bright colors will catch our attention. Our garden feeders will bring them close to our windows for careful observation or photography. The Baltimore Oriole has bright orange breast and belly feathers with a black back and wings mixed with yellow and white. Its cousin the orchard oriole has a cinnamon-colored chest, an all-black head, and white markings on its wings. Both species are similar in size and like to feed on grape jelly at a backyard feeding station.

The month of May has arrived, and with it a great assemblage of neotropical birds on their migratory journey north. When they stop long enough for us humans to observe them, we will be greeted with a whole host of new species and new colors to their plumage to fit most categories of the rainbow. sky.

The list of re-arrivals on this list of birds is long. For keen birders, their checklist will come under scrutiny in this new month. The word neotropical refers to birds that nest in the United States and Canada and in the fall migrate long distances to wintering grounds in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

There are over 350 species that fit the Neotropical group, and about half of them breed in the United States and Canada. This extensive list includes shorebirds, waterfowl, and landbirds.

Of the 145 birds that regularly nest in Iowa, 42 fit the Neotropical definition. For the most part, they prefer forests or forest edge habitats. Some of these species have declining populations for which biologists are trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together to determine what is affecting the decline.

While some populations appear to be stable, others increasing, and others declining, this jumble of mysteries is not an easy biological enterprise to solve. Yet unraveling the mysteries of birds and the habitat and food source ingredients that make them tick is a rewarding career for avian biologists. As the clues are pieced together, more questions arise and the mysteries continue.

Migration is a year-round phenomenon, not just in spring and fall, but there is a bigger push every spring and fall that catches our attention. The migration urges are unstoppable and continue day and night, rain or snow. For us in the northern hemisphere, spring brings new plant growth and therefore new food sources. These types of food are emerging insects, young animals, and new plant seeds.

No species migrate along the same route, although the broad Midwest Corridor may be defined as the Mississippi River and each side of this inland waterway over a hundred miles east and west of the river itself. same. The Missouri River is another corridor that many birds will follow, and others cross the continent regardless of rivers, passing through large swaths of farms, ranches, and mountainous areas.

Shorebirds, depending on the species, will migrate from the southern tip of South America to northern Canada. Another example is the Cerulean Warbler which makes the journey to nest in the Mississippi River forests of Iowa from the wintering grounds of northwestern South America, and the Ruby-throated Hummingbird crosses the Gulf of Mexico in a single day, over a distance of 600 miles.

Some birds follow the moon, sun or stars or all of the above. Weak magnetic fields can be detected, as can odors in the air, barometric pressures and polarized light. The lengthening of the days triggers the migration.

Genetics provides a hard-wired internal compass. Many studies have shown that these factors are present. Leg-banding and netting inventories help find clues, just as radio telemetry and radar returns to weather stations can “see” birds as they form up for large migratory surges each spring or fall. Millions of birds can appear on aircraft ground radar sites.

Enjoy the arrival of returning birds this May 2022. Keep a list if that’s your thing, or just enjoy the new colors of new birds at a favorite county park, meadow or wetland.

All of your exercise outside to get to these spots will reward you with new spring sights and sounds. Enjoy it all during the month of May.


During the month of May, date unknown, Iowa DNR Bureau of Fisheries staff will deliver approximately 1,000 to 2,000 rainbow trout to Sand Lake. It’s part of their long-standing urban fishing program to bring cold-water species closer to where more people live and work.

These local ponds can accommodate trout in the spring and fall. If summer water temperatures get too hot, trout are unlikely to survive hot water. Trout do best in waters warmer than 45 degrees and colder than 70.

People who fish for trout need a fishing license and a trout royalty endorsement in order to own trout. The daily limit is five trout per angler with a possession limit of ten. Children 15 or younger may fish for trout with a licensed adult, but must limit catch to a daily limit.

Yes, a child can purchase a trout levy not a license allowing them to catch their own limit of trout.


May is a month when things happen specific to this spring of the year. Day length on May 1 for residents of the Marshalltown area is 14 hours and two minutes. By 31, this will have increased from 58 minutes to 3 p.m.

Our sunrise on May 1 was at 6:07 a.m. and our sunset at 8:08 p.m. On the 31st, the sun will appear on the eastern horizon at 5:38 a.m. and set in the west at 8:38 p.m.

Sunrises and sunsets change drastically as one moves towards the North Pole. For example, our friends living in Fairbanks, AK already have a sunrise at 5:30 p.m. and sunsets after 10 p.m. Their pace of change is faster than ours.

Anglers will note that walleye season on the Iowa Great Lakes opens on May 1. On May 21, muskellunge fishing will be permitted in lakes bordering the Iowa-Minnesota border, which includes Iowa’s Great Lakes. Many other species of fish will use warmer waters closer to shore to begin their spawning work for a new year.

Walleye fishing season opens May 7 on Iowa’s Great Lakes, Spirit Lake, East and West Okoboji. The slot length this year is 19-25 inches with only one walleye over 25 inches allowed per day. Other fish species found in the Great Lakes include sunfish (crappie or bluegill), northern pike, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass.

Mid-May will see the hatching of the broods of pheasants. Bluebirds will see their first broods hatch around May 10. Look for the appearance of broods of wild turkeys by the end of the month and white-tailed deer fawns will be born around the end of the month or the beginning of June.

Reminder: leave baby birds or wild mammals alone! Don’t try to “save” what is best left to parents. Your human intentions are neither necessary nor welcome. Also, it is illegal to foster feral babies.

April showers bring May flowers as the old saying goes. We’ve had a lot of rain showers lately, some light, some too heavy, but overall the rain was welcome. The water from the sky allows to recharge the basins and to increase the flow of the rivers.

As for the Iowa River, it has seen a water level rise of about two feet and appears to be holding steady for now, and well within its banks. Weekend rains can quickly change this outlook if a heavy downpour occurs in the watershed. Stay tuned and be aware of river conditions after a major rain event.


Walleye fishing has a new challenge schedule for 2022. In cooperation with My Catch by Angler’s Atlas, a statewide walleye catching tournament begins May 1. To register and pay the $25 fee, you can participate.

You must download the MyCatch application from Goggle Play or the Apple App Store. Prizes will be awarded weekly in May and June. Prizes range in value from $100 to $600 in a variety of categories. Check it out. Contact Jeff Kopaska at the Bureau of Fisheries, Iowa DNR at 515-204-8021.


“God does not count the time you spend fishing against your lifespan. Therefore, go fishing often. – Unknown


Garry Brandenburg is the retired director of the Marshall County Conservation Board. Contact him at:

Box 96

Albion, IA 50005

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