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Peterson, Iowa, prairie to become bird conservation area

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Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-headed woodpeckers are among the grassland birds that nest in habitat near Peterson, Iowa, that will be dedicated as Iowa's newest Bird Conservation Area next month.

PETERSON, Iowa | A wildlife area near Peterson will soon be named Iowa's newest Bird Conservation Area.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will dedicate the Waterman Prairie Wildlife Management Area and a portion of the Little Sioux River watershed as a Bird Conservation Area at an 11 a.m. ceremony March 7 at the O'Brien County Prairie Heritage Center, about four miles west of Peterson on the north side of Iowa Highway 10.

"Designating this complex as a Bird Conservation Area will add to its recognition by indicating its importance for nesting and migratory grassland and savanna birds," Bruce Ehresman, DNR wildlife diversity program biologist, said in a news release.

Birds that nest in the area include upland sandpipers, northern harriers, bobolinks, ring-necked pheasants, American woodcocks and red-headed woodpeckers.

According to the DNR, watching wildlife is a $318 million industry in Iowa, and the new designation near Peterson is expected to attract bird enthusiasts, supporting the local tourism economy.

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