About the Authors


Stephen J. Dinsmore is a Professor of wildlife ecology and Interim Chair of the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management at Iowa State University. He received a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology from Iowa State University (1990), an M.S. in Zoology (minor in Statistics) from North Carolina State University (1994), and a Ph.D. in Fishery and Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University (2001). He is a lifelong birder who has visited all seven continents and written extensively about birds in Iowa and elsewhere. He especially enjoys looking for and finding rare birds, studying the seasonal and spatial distributions of birds, and learning the latest about bird taxonomy and identification. His professional interests are avian ecology, population biology, capture-recapture analysis, and monitoring animal populations. His research program at Iowa State University emphasizes studies of avian population biology including a long-term project on Mountain Plovers. His teaching responsibilities include an undergraduate course in ornithology, a graduate course in avian ecology, and study abroad courses to Antarctica, Costa Rica, Madagascar, and Tanzania.

Bruce Ehresman is a retired Avian Ecologist from Iowa DNR’s Wildlife Diversity Program, of which he is a founding member. His professional wildlife career spanned nearly 41 years, during most of which he held a Master bird banding permit. He has B.S. and M.S. degrees in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University. Interest in birds began as a child on the farm, and birding skills were better developed in the 1980s during Iowa’s first Breeding Bird Atlas. He was strongly influenced by Fran Hamerstrom’s philosophy of “birding with a purpose,” and feels fortunate to have been involved with many restoration programs for species and their habitats, especially for Wild Turkey, Barn Owl, Bald Eagle, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, Greater Prairie Chicken, and Trumpeter Swan.

Douglas C. Harr (B.S. and M.S., South Dakota State University) was a full Instructor at SDSU’s Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences in 1970, teaching laboratory ornithology and ichthyology. In 1972 he became a Wildlife Management Biologist for the Iowa Conservation Commission (now Iowa DNR) in northwest Iowa. Doug transferred to become an Iowa DNR Wildlife Diversity Biologist in 2001, then was promoted to Wildlife Diversity Program State Coordinator from 2002 until retiring in 2010. He has served as Iowa Coordinator for the federal USGS Breeding Bird Survey, is past president of The Wildlife Society’s Iowa chapter, current president of Iowa Audubon, and has been a member of the Iowa Ornithologists’ Union since 1978, currently serving on the IOU Records Committee. Doug began enthusiastic birding at his rural Minnesota home at age nine. His primary retirement hobby continues to be birding and bird photography.

Christopher Caster (B.S. and D.D.S., University of Iowa) got his love of the outdoors, as well as the inspiration to draw, from his father John. He enjoys birding for the places it takes him and the adventure of pelagic birding most of all. Recent years have kept him close to home with his wife Terry, son Benjamin, and daughter Emma. He has been an IOU member since1986 and has served on the Projects Committee. He has been the Iowa Regional Editor for the Christmas Bird Count for seventeen years. He is a past president of the Iowa City Bird Club and regularly leads club field trips.

Jay Gilliam (B.S., Drake University) is a Protein Biochemist and conducts research leading to the discovery of novel proteins for agricultural uses. His fascination with nature and nature photography began at an early age and eventually led to his initiation into birding in the early-1990s when he became a member of the IOU. He has served on the IOU Board of Directors, the Records Committee, and he created and then chaired the Projects Committee. He favors pelagic trips for birds and other sea life and his favorite place to go birding is Alaska. He continues birding when possible, but his interests and focus have recently expanded into odonates and butterflies.

Rex Johnson (Ball State University, Iowa State University M.S. in Animal Ecology, and South Dakota State University Ph.D. in Wildlife Biology) spent his early formative years prowling the prairies, woods, and wetlands of Iowa, and now spends time pondering the decline of most of the species that gave him joy as a child. Rex worked for 20 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a migratory bird biologist and supervisor and for two years with the South Dakota Grassland Coalition as its Executive Director. While with the Service, he helped pioneer the use of landscape-scale modeling and spatial analysis and helped launch a set of conservation planning principles now commonly known as strategic habitat conservation. In his final invited presentation among more than a hundred as a professional, he explored the question “Why does a modern Midwestern grassland seem to sustain so little wildlife compared to the grasslands of 50 years ago and what must have been the productive potential of these same grasslands in the mid-19th Century?” Rex is presently retired and looking for his next great life adventure; he has always considered Iowa his true home.

Shane Patterson has been captivated by the natural world as far back as he can remember. His lifelong interests crystallized on a sunny spring morning when he watched his parents systematically identify birds just outside the kitchen window. Ever since then, he has found himself constantly categorizing the sights and sounds of nature. Shane went on to study environmental biology (B.S.) at Eastern Illinois University and wildlife ecology (M.S.) at Iowa State University. He has worked for multiple wildlife agencies in the public and private sectors, and he teaches environmental science at the collegiate level. From coast to coast and beyond North America, his activities for work, family, and leisure have fulfilled his innate desire to explore. But his favorite memories are made alongside his kids, Natalie and Olivia, whose natural enthusiasm and inquisitiveness have enabled him to revisit the steps that first shaped his fondness for the outdoors. You may encounter Shane and his family wandering parks in Ames or in places far away. And perhaps one day you will cross paths with him on the next Iowa Breeding Bird Atlas.

Karen E. Kinkead is the Wildlife Diversity Program Coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. She received a B.S. in Biology from Virginia Tech (1995), an M.S. in Zoology (minor in Forest Resources) from Clemson University (1997), and a Ph.D. in Zoology from Clemson University (2004). She came to Iowa in 2004 and helped create Iowa’s Multiple Species Inventory and Monitoring Program while at Iowa State University and was hired by the Iowa DNR in 2006 as a Biologist in the Wildlife Diversity Program. Always fascinated by the things she could catch (frogs, salamanders, turtles), birds have not been a primary focus—her eyesight is not good enough for identifying fast moving critters. With her background in research methods and Iowa habitat mapping, she facilitated the block designs and logistics to complete this Breeding Bird Atlas II.

Ann Johnson retired from a long career with the State of Iowa as a Management Analyst. Although her B.A. is in sociology, she has had an intense interest in the natural world since childhood, primarily birds but of late also dragonflies. She was nurtured in this interest in those early days by her grandmother in Wisconsin and an uncle who introduced her to the Iowa Ornithologists’ Union. She has been an active member of the IOU since 1961 and has most recently served long stints as the Iowa Records Committee Secretary and chair of the IOU Publications Committee. In 2006 she helped develop the odonate protocols for Iowa’s Multiple Species Inventory and Monitoring Program and later served as a consultant for surveyors. When not tied to her computer as a natural history website developer, including the sites for the Iowa Ornithologists’ Union, she can be found birding all over the country and occasionally beyond.