Rural Lifestyle

An Ode to the Dickcissel: Rural Iowa's Most Unremarkable Remarkable Bird

Wild turkey. Ring-necked pheasant. Trumpeter swan. Turkey vulture. Northern bobwhite. These are the remarkable birds of Iowa's rural landscapes. They're large, conspicuous, and broadly recognized. These species, and a few more, are those most associated with rural life and synonymous with our experience on the farm. However, I submit that to the trained eye, and ear, the bird that most symbolizes Iowa's countryside is not these charismatic familiar species, but rather, the unremarkable yet fascinatingly remarkable Dickcissel.


What Story is your Land Telling?

We can learn about our land in a variety of ways. An alternative, simple, and reliable method remains perhaps underutilized and is accessible to anyone with trained eyes: reading the stories plainly displayed on the face of the land and trees. Understanding the stories hidden in the elements of our landscapes can transform a walk in the woods or a country drive into a history lesson on the land and the stories hidden in its plants and soils.