Celebrating World Animal Day with the birds of Iowa!

October 4th is World Animal Day, a world wide holiday celebrating our furry and feathered friends from across the globe. Originally founded by Heinrich Zimmermann in 1925 to celebrate and bring awareness to the lives of the animals around us. World Animal Day is always celebrated on October 4th, as it is also the day of Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology, although in 1925 it was celebrated on March 25 because a venue was unavailable until that date. In 1931 International Animal Protection Congress adopted the holiday, making it an official international holiday.

In the spirit of World Animal Day, we look to the early October bird sighting list provided by the Big Bluestem Audubon Society. There you can find many different birds that you might see outside your window today! Frederic Leopold, a well known Iowa ornithologist, would be very excited to see that his beloved Wood Ducks have made it on the list! For more information on Frederic Leopold, check out his collection here at Iowa State University Special Collections and University Archives! Have you seen any Wood Ducks on your fall adventures yet?

Black and white image of Mother Wood Duck and her ducklings

Mother Wood Duck and her ducklings, photograph by Frederic Leopold 1966.
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Another frequent flyer on the early October list is the Great Egret. Sometimes referred to as the American Egret, this bird is large, white, and stunning. Another well known ornithologist, Philip DuMont, spent a lot of time in our great state of Iowa bird watching and recording his sightings. To learn more about Philip DuMont and his collection, check it out here at Iowa State University Special Collections and University Archives! The Great Egret will be getting ready to fly south soon, so start looking before they are gone!

Image of American Egrets at the Allen Green Refuge

American Egrets at the Allen Green Refuge in Burlington, Iowa photographed by Philip DuMont.
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How will you celebrate World Animal Day? Whether you are bird watching in a wildlife refuge or just spending some extra time with your dog, we hope you take a moment to appreciate the beauty of the animals around you!