We saw a record breaking 218 species during Bird-A-Thon week! Have you made your tax-deductible pledge yet? Click here to get a print-friendly PDF of the 2016 Bird-A-Thon pledge form. Make check(s) payable to Prairie Rapids Audubon Society and indicate Birdathon on the check. Please mail your pledge and/or contribution to: Craig Rash 105 Woodland Springs Road Denver, Iowa 50622
History in the Making: Three Merlin Fledglings Observed in Black Hawk County!
Previously it was thought that there were 2 juvenile Merlins, but PRAS Boardmember, Bill Schuerman has captured a photo with all THREE juvenile Merlins perched on a neighborhood roof (see photo below). Bill's photography is documenting this wonderful occasion of Merlins nesting and fledging young. Enjoy the photos and check out other great photos in our PRAS Flickr photofeed.
|Juvenile Merlins learning how to be successful hunters. Photo by Bill Schuerman. Check out other photos on our Flickr feed.|
|3 juvenile Merlins, Waterloo, Iowa. Photo by Bill Schuerman.|
|Anatomy of a Falcon--Nostrils designed for steep dives. Photo by Bill Schuerman|
|One of two Juvenile Merlin fledglings in Waterloo, Iowa. Photo courtesy of Bill Schuerman|
|Adult female Merlin in Waterloo, Iowa. Photo courtesy of Bill Schuerman|
|One of the adult Merlins perched near the nest in Black Hawk County; photo by Tom Schilke.|
There have been two juvenile Merlins observed at this nesting site. The adults can be seen perched at the top of tall conifers or on locust trees near the nest site. This is the second known nest in Eastern Iowa this year, with the other one being in Iowa City. These small falcons have not nested in Iowa since 1908 but Black Hawk and Johnson counties now have confirmed nesting pairs of Merlins this year. This is very exciting news.
Merlins are small, fierce falcons that use surprise attacks to bring down small songbirds and shorebirds. They are powerful fliers, but you can tell them from larger falcons by their rapid wingbeats and overall dark tones. Medieval falconers called them “lady hawks,” and noblewomen used them to hunt Sky Larks. Merlin populations have largely recovered from twentieth-century declines, thanks to a ban on the pesticide DDT and their ability to adapt to life around towns and cities. -- Information provided on the website All About Birds.
Birding @ Okiboji-Spirit Lake with Iowa Ornithologists' Union: Annual Fall Meeting August 26-28th
Join the Iowa Ornithologists' Union (IOU) fall meeting for great birding in the Okiboji area, great company with like minded people and great learning opportunities with nationally recognized birder and author, Keven Karlson. Karlson is a prolific author and his keynote speech will center on his latest book, Birding by Impression: A Different Approach to Knowing and Identifying Birds. Kevin has also helped author shorebird guides and will be leading a shorebird ID session on Saturday afternoon. See the IOU's webpage for more details and to register. You do not need to be an IOU member to join us; everyone is welcome.