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The Raptors of Iowa

Illustrator(s): 
James F. Landenberger
Essay by: 
Dean M. Roosa
Essay by: 
Jon W. Stravers
Essay by: 
Bruce Ehresman
Essay by: 
Rich Patterson


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Available: 
May 2013
2013
118 pages, 34 paintings, 6 x 8 inches
Paper: 
$29.95
1-60938-166-1
978-1-60938-166-0

“To pioneer homesteaders, a hawk in the sky was reason to reach for a gun. Now, with our better understanding of the raptors’ ecological importance and of their perilous future, a wheeling red-tail against the sun is something to cherish, not kill. In The Raptors of Iowa, artist and authors have given to all who are interested in midwestern birds a book that will set the standard for years to come.”—J. Fenwick Lansdowne

This long-awaited collection of James Landenberger’s paintings of Iowa birds of prey presents thirty-two full-page, full-color species, from the common turkey vulture to the red-shouldered hawk of Mississippi River woodlands to the little northern saw-whet owl. Four naturalists who have devoted their lives to conserving wilderness habitats and species have written essays to complement the paintings.

Thanks to state and federal laws and a shift in public attitude, birds of prey are no longer seen as incarnations of ferocity but as creatures superbly attuned to their lives and surroundings. Although Iowa unfortunately leads the way in the amount of wildlife habitat that has been destroyed, conservation organizations and state agencies have also led the way toward successful raptor restoration projects, among them a roadside nest box program for the American kestrel, a project to restore peregrine falcons to their historic eyries, and a relocation program that should ensure a sustainable population of ospreys. The recent spectacular recovery of the bald eagle, whose nests had vanished from the state for seventy years, is particularly encouraging.

There can be no substitute for seeing thousands of broad-winged hawks soaring high overhead during migration, a great horned owl perching in silhouette at dusk, or a Cooper’s hawk plunging toward its prey along the roadside. But Jim Landenberger’s meticulously detailed paintings go a long way toward conveying the remarkable beauty of the American kestrel and other falcons, the grace of the swallow-tailed kite, the immaculate mystery of the snowy owl and its fellow owls, the glistening head feathers of an adult bald eagle, and the piercing defiance so characteristic of our larger hawks.

Table of contents: 

The birds:

Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura

Osprey, Pandion haliaetus

Swallow-tailed Kite, Elanoides forficatus

Mississippi Kite, Ictinia mississippiensis

Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Northern Harrier, Circus cyaneus

Sharp-shinned Hawk, Accipiter striatus

Cooper’s Hawk, Accipiter cooperii

Northern Goshawk, Accipiter gentilis

Red-shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus

Broad-winged Hawk, Buteo platypterus

Swainson’s Hawk, Buteo swainsoni

Red-tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis

Ferruginous Hawk, Buteo regalis

Rough-legged Hawk, Buteo lagopus

Golden Eagle, Aquila chrysaetos

American Kestrel, Falco sparverius

Merlin, Falco columbarius

Gyrfalcon, Falco rusticolus

Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus

Prairie Falcon, Falco mexicanus

Barn Owl, Tyto alba

Eastern Screech-owl, Megascops asio

Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus

Snowy Owl, Bubo scandiacus

Northern Hawk Owl, Surnia ulula

Burrowing Owl, Athene cunicularia

Barred Owl, Strix varia

Great Gray Owl, Strix nebulosa

Long-eared Owl, Asio otus

Short-eared Owl, Asio flammeus

Northern Saw-whet Owl, Aegolius acadicus

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