A great horned owl hides in a tree.

A great horned owl is well-camoflauged in a tree on the edge of the prairie.

NPS Photo

Birds' colors and songs add visible and audible vitality to the dignified commemorative setting of Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. The park is on the Mississippi flyway, a major bird migration route. Many species rest and take refuge in the park's reconstructed tallgrass prairie and along its quiet stream.


Park staff and volunteers monitor long-term changes in breeding bird populations to evaluate the quality of habitat the park provides. The presence or absence of grassland birds like sedge wrens, dickcissels, grasshopper sparrows, Henslow's sparrows, bobolinks, and eastern meadowlarks indicate the prairie's overall health. Populations of these species decline as prairies disappear from the landscape. Several species are of continental importance because of their dwindling numbers. Find research reports and data »

The park's bird checklist (PDF file), based on data from scientific surveys, is your own tool for measuring the vital signs of the park's natural areas. Visitors are always encouraged to share their observations with the park staff.

A male red-winged blackbird sings.

A red-winged blackbird guards its territory in the tallgrass prairie.

NPS Photo

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