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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.

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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. 

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