Migration Mapping

A curious line drawn from the boreal forest’s changing landscape to the changing ecology of our backyards.

Next Appearing
Ames Public Library

Nov 1 – 29, 2022
Arist Presentation Thursday, November 10, 7-8pm
515 Douglas avenue, ames, iowa

Future Exhibits
Ames Public Library | NOV 2 – 29, 2022 | AMES, IOWA
Holiday Open Studio | DEC 2022 | AMES, IOWA
Neal Smith Wildlife Center | JAN & FEB 2023 | PRAIRIE CITY, IOWA
Octagon Center for the Arts | FALL 2023 | AMES, IOWA

Explore the Birds

Interactive Migration Mapping Exhibit

Select bird species to discover visitors to Iowa from the boreal forest. Data courtesy of Cornell University Ornithology Lab’s citizen science project eBird. Over 10 feet long at 4 feet wide, the tapestry is naturally dyed wool and LEDs. This project is made part in possible by the Iowa Arts Council.

Junk Mail Migration Painting Series

Kristin selected birds who’s primary breeding grounds are in the Boreal Forest, migrate through Iowa, but do not breed here.

Interactive Bird Song Boxes

Let your curiosity guide you as you explore bird calls familiar to your backyard. You’ll be surprised how many you recognize. Tie all the exhibit together by taking a bird song you recognize, find the painting, and explore how the bird has changed paths over the decades with the Migration Mapping exhibit.

Support provided by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs; the National Endowment for the Arts; and partnering host institutions.

Exhibition Specification

Experience the shifting history of migration in your community.

Junk Mail Migration Painting Series
  • Materials: Junk mail, cardboard, pine, gesso, ink, charcoal
  • 2011 – on going
  • Sizes range from 7″ X 11″ to 30″ X 42″. Select the number of works that fits your exhibition space or coordinate a satellite exhibit with a community partner.
  • Prints and Greeting Cards available for institutions to sell in their visitor shop; 10% of proceeds donated to conservation program of host’s choice.
  • Birds Represented by this series: Black-backed Woodpecker, Bohemian Waxwing, Boreal Chickadee, Bufflehead, Connecticut Warbler, Dark-eyed Junco, Gray Jay, Herring Gull, Lesser Yellowlegs, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Northern Hawk Owl, Northern Shrike, Philadelphia Vireo, Red-necked Grebe, Rusty Blackbird, Short-billed Dowitcher, Spotted Sandpiper, Swamp Sparrow, White-winged Crossbill, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Migration Mapping Tapestry
  • Tapestry size: 50″ wide X 120″ long.
  • Can be adjusted to be shorter to accommodate lower ceiling heights.
  • Pedestal floor space requirements: 24″ deep by 72″ wide (free standing or against a wall).
  • Electric requirements: 120v grounded outlet
  • Birds Represented by this project: can be programed to show the data of the migratory birds in your community. Comes loaded with data for the 19 birds in the Junk Mail Migration series.

Made possible in part by the Iowa Arts Council/Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Bird Song Boxes
  • 12 Boxes Total, can be programed with bird songs of your choice to reflect your community’s most common migratory birds.
  • Made from birch panel, electronics, speakers.
  • Boxes can sound off automatically to create a soundscape or be triggered manually by visitors.
  • Volume adjustable.
Exhibit Cost
  • Iowa Partnering Institutions Oct 2022 – March 2023 only travel expenses for the artist to come install the work and provide public programming + commitment of publicity are required to secure exhibit for your community. This is possible thanks to support provided by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs; and the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Out-of-State partnering institutions: Shipping cost, staffing support for installation, publicity commitment, proof of insurance, exhibit fee TBD based on duration of exhibit and on-site support requested.
Future Exhibits
  • Holiday Open Studio | DEC 2022 | 138 MAIN STREET, AMES, IOWA
  • Neal Smith Wildlife Center | JAN & FEB 2023 | PRAIRIE CITY, IOWA
  • Octagon Center for the Arts | FALL 2023 | AMES, IOWA
Past Exhibits
  • Ames’ Artists Studio Tour | OCT 1 & 2, 2022 | 138 MAIN STREET, AMES, IOWA

Press Release


“Bird Conservation.” Boreal Songbird Initiative, 9 Dec. 2015, https://www.borealbirds.org

Dinsmore, J. J., Koenig, D., & Kent, T. H. (1984). Iowa Birds-84. Iowa State Press.

Dinsmore, J. J., Spess, J. L., & Thompson, C. A. (1997). The Iowa Breeding Bird Atlas. University of Iowa Press.

Kent, T. H., & Dinsmore, J. J. (1996). Birds in Iowa. T.H. Kent

Sullivan, B.L., C.L. Wood, M.J. Iliff, R.E. Bonney, D. Fink, and S. Kelling. 2009. eBird: a citizen-based bird observation network in the biological sciences. Biological Conservation 142: 2282-2292