Bird Friendly Iowa anticipates that in the years ahead its communities will want to strengthen their commitment to bird conservation. These additional criteria demonstrate a significantly higher level of commitment. High Flyer applications may be submitted by those currently recognized as Bird Friendly Communities as part of their annual renewal. To earn a High Flyer Status Award, a community will need to document that it still meets Bird City's basic qualifications and has met at least five (5) of the following criteria from at least two (2) of the four categories:
Creation and Protection of Habitat
- The community has restored at least two acres of woodlands, wetlands or prairie within the last decade.
- The community offers material (equipment and/or financial) assistance to property owners in removing invasive non-native shrubs or trees from woodlands or grasslands.
- The community offers material (equipment and/or financial) assistance to property owners in removing other non-native invasive plants, besides shrubs or trees (for example, garlic mustard).
- The community has a program that supports and provides information about the establishment of "natural lawns/yards."
- The community has an active program to preserve Chimney Swift nesting and roosting sites (especially chimneys) and/or is constructing alternative Chimney Swift towers.
- The community has an active program to preserve Common Nighthawk nesting sites and/or create new nesting sites for this declining urban bird.
- The community promotes the conservation of Purple Martins through research, state of the art management techniques and public education, with a goal of increasing martin populations.
- The community facilitates Scout and other conservation groups in such bird projects as establishing nest boxes for Iowa Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN): like Eastern Screech Owl, American Kestrels, or Barn Owl; as well as for non-SGCN species, such as Eastern Bluebird.
- The community has a public golf course that is managed to benefit birds and pollinators, maintaining natural wildlife habitats in at least 50% of all minimally used portions of the property while minimizing use of inorganic pesticides.
Participation in Programs Promoting Effective Urban Forest Management
- The community has an ongoing program to incorporate native trees and native shrubs in its public landscaping (for cities that do not choose to meet Tree City criteria).
Limiting or Removing Hazards to Birds
- The community enforces a law or regulation that requires domestic cats to be kept indoors, on a leash, or in an enclosure that prevents them from preying on native birds.
- The community regulates construction and siting of communication towers to mitigate their risk to migrating birds.
- The community operates a "Lights out for Birds" program to dim the lights of tall buildings to reduce collisions and save birds' lives during spring and fall migration.
- The community supports a bird collision monitoring program and offers information and material for preventing window collisions in homes and commercial establishments.
- The community is active in raising awareness of its bird assets. Examples include placing a remote web camera at a raptor nest or in a nest box, offering field trips to observe and learn about Iowa SGCN birds, or creating a significant educational resource about the community's bird life.
- The community actively sponsors a minimum of one field trip for Iowa Young Birders each year, within the same county or within the closest Bird Conservation Area to that community.
- The community maintains a birding trail, viewing site or platform, or birding "hot spot" location that includes educational signage and/or literature.