National Park Service


Date of this Version



Natural Resource Report NPS/HTLN/NRR 2019/1936 / NPS 432/154152, June 2019: v, 25 pages

Editing and design by Tani Hubbard

Published by the United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Natural Resource Stewardship and Science, Fort Collins, Colorado

Also available at:

Please cite this publication as:

Peitz, D. G., L. W. Morrison, and K. L. Mecke. 2019. Bird monitoring at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, Iowa: Status report 2005–2017. Natural Resource Report NPS/HTLN/NRR—2019/1936. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.


United States government work. Public domain material.


Executive Summary

In 2005, the Heartland Inventory & Monitoring Network initiated breeding bird surveys on Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, Iowa, to address two objectives: (1) to monitor changes in bird community composition and abundance, and (2) to improve our understanding of relationships between breeding birds and habitat, and the effects of management actions on those relationships. This report evaluates trends in the park’s breeding bird populations in the context of trends observed within the North American Bird Conservation Initiative’s (NABCI) Eastern Tallgrass Prairie Bird Conservation Region , the region in which the park is located. By doing so, we can assess the influence of park habitat management on bird populations with an understanding of regional population trends that are outside the influence of natural resource management activities at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site.

Sixty-eight species of birds were recorded during May and June site visits in the twelve years since initiating monitoring. Sixty-seven of the species are considered breeding species because they are permanent or summer residents. Seven of the breeding species recorded on Herbert Hoover National Historic Site are species of concern for the Eastern Tallgrass Prairie Bird Conservation Region. Eight species were observed during the survey period in sufficient numbers to calculate annual abundances and trends with some degree of confidence.

The American Robin (Turdus migratorius) and Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) were the most abundant and widespread species on Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. Comparing population trends on the park with regional trends suggest that populations of the most common species on the park were similar to those of the region, especially for American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis), Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula), Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas), Dickcissel (Spiza americana), and Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura). The population of Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) on the park was doing slightly better than the population region-wide. One of the species that was common and widespread on the park, American Robin, had an uncertain park population trend, but a region-wide trend that was increasing. The other common and widespread species, Red-winged Blackbird, had a population trend that was declining both on the park and across the region.

This report provides current regional and local trends for breeding birds for future comparisons with bird data collected as part of the long-term monitoring efforts at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. This information will help park staff plan management objectives and assess the effectiveness of management alternatives. These monitoring data also provide park staff with additional information for interpreting natural resources.