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Graphic showing a birder with binoculars and Avian Adventure with dates listed in text below.

Avian Adventure

Johnson County’s Avian Adventure is a self-paced science-based, county-wide scavenger hunt all about birds! Discover how parks and greenspaces support birds, while learning about the vital role birds play in our ecosystem!

There is no charge to participate and the program is open to all ages!

Trail Map Packet:

Link to Avian Adventure trail map & instructions

Important Dates:

Avian Adventure Search Dates: February 1-March 24, 2024

Trivia Night: 6-8 p.m. Thursday, March 28 at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City

How it Works:

1.)  Download our full site maps to plan your adventure. (PDF Link above)

2.)  Avian Adventure runs from February 1 through March 24, 2024. During that time, your goal is to visit as many of the 12 Avian Adventure locations as possible and find the hidden mystery bird at each site.

3.)  At each location, once you have found the initial Avian Adventure Station, read the posted instructions on where to find each bird. The station signs will give you information about the bird’s habitat and behavior, which will help you find the hidden bird.

4.) Congratulations! Once you find the bird you are looking for, take a selfie with the bird and post to social media (Instagram or Facebook). With each photo submitted, you earn an entry into the Avian Adventure raffle. Be sure to use the hashtag #JCAvianAdventure and set your account/post to public, so we can view the post. Alternatively, you may email your submissions to: [email protected]

5.)  Bonus Points: Correctly identify the birds you find and you will receive a bonus point for each one!

6.)  For each station completed, you will be entered into a raffle drawing for an assortment of fun prizes. Participants who visit 10 stations or more will be entered to win the grand prize!

7.)  Attend the Avian Adventure trivia night where winners will be announced. Attendees will have the chance to win another prize by winning trivia! Trivia night is optional and you do not have to be present to win Avian Adventure prizes.

Prizes:

2024 Raffle Prizes:

- Vortex Optics Viper Binoculars (8x42), plus Vortex cap, and decal ($526 value)

Additional Prizes: 

A Bird’s Eye Vue Package- Overnight Stay at Hilton Garden Inn and $50 Gift Certificate to VUE in Iowa City 

- FilmScene Date Night Package

- $50 Gift Certificate to Play it Again Sports

- Prairie Kitchen Store Birds and Bees Baking Set

- $25 Gift Certificate to World of Bikes

- Bird Feeding Starter Kit from Thiesen’s

- Family Day Pass to the Iowa Children's Museum

- $50 Gift Certificate to Tin Roost in North Liberty

- Bird Bonanza Seed Mix from Prairie Moon Nursery

- Gift Certificates to "Wizard of Oz" in July at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts

- Shepherd's Hook & Hummingbird Feeder from Lenoch & Cilek Ace Hardware

- Birding Field Guides

Tips for Success:

What to Bring:

Dress comfortably for outdoor recreation. Some stations require more walking and exploration than others. Check the forecast before you go. Bring water to drink and think about packing a picnic for your adventure! We have done our best to note additional activities that take place at each location, so you can take advantage of those things. It also wouldn’t hurt to bring along a bird field guide to help you ID the birds at each station (remember you get a bonus point for correctly IDing the bird at each station). We have listed some good resources for bird ID below.

Bird ID Tips & Resources:

When working to ID the mystery bird at each station, consider the size and shape of the bird, the bird’s coloration and field marks, the habitat in which the bird is found, and the behavior (if described in the station clues).  Field marks are the distinctive stripes, spots, patterns, colors, and highlights that birds have, which help other birds, as well as birdwatchers, distinguish one species from another.  

Web Resources:

1.) Cornell Lab of Ornithology- Field Guide
2.) Cornell’s Building Skills: The four keys to bird watching
3.) National Audubon Society- Bird Guide

Apps:

Merlin App by Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Audubon Bird Guide App

Books:

Birds of Iowa- Stan Tekiela- A great beginner bird guide organized by color and size.
The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America
How to Find a Bird- Jennifer Ward Beautifully illustrated by Diane Sudyka, this children’s picture book provides great tips for finding birds wherever you are. Author and illustrator both reside in the Midwest, so many birds featured can be found in our region.

Thanks to our sponsors!

We want to offer a huge thanks to our program’s donors. All of the donations from businesses or organizations for the raffle prizes were generously donated by the businesses or community organizations. If you enjoy this event, be sure to thank them for their support of the Johnson County Avian Adventure!

Donors:
- Vortex
- The Vue
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Film Scene
- Play It Again Sports
- Prairie Kitchen Store
- World of Bikes
- Theisens
- Tin Roost
- Iowa Children's Museum
- Prairie Moon Nursery
- Coralville Center for the Performing Arts

- Lenoch & Cilek Ace Hardware


Snowshoe Check-out

JCC offers free snowshoe check out whenever conditions allow! 

To reserve a date, head to: Sign Up Link