Snowy Owl @ Sweet Marsh, Bremer County  Photo by Kip Ladage
Snowy Owls, Eagles & Herons, Oh My!
Kip Ladage found all of these birds at Sweet Marsh in Bremer County. Read his account and see his wonderful photos on his blog.  Thank you Kip for sharing!

This winter seems to be adding up to being an irruption year for Snowy Owls. If you see a Snowy Owl let us has been seen in Black Hawk and Bremer Counties; so far, there have been 18 sightings throughout Iowa.

Remember to watch Snowy Owls without disturbing them; read these hints to help you enjoy seeing this spectacular bird without compromising its saftey. 
Bald Eagles @ Sweet Marsh
Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron @ Sweet Marsh

Christmas Bird Counts
Join us for a few hours, bird with us all day, or monitor your own bird feeders…it’s your choice! For over a century, the Christmas Bird Count has been a tradition. Our dedicated volunteers participating in this citizen science project is one reason Waterloo met the criteria for being a bird-friendly city. So come join the fun. If you want to count birds at your feeder, contact Francis Moore 319-269-0741.

Sat. Dec 16: Bremer County CBC
Meet at 7 a.m. at the Logan Hy-Vee (2181 Logan Ave, Waterloo, IA). Call Francis Moore 319-269-0741 for more information or if you want to meet us in Bremer County.  We will do lunch at the Bowling Alley in Tripoli around noon and those who want can continue to bird in the afternoon.

Sun. Dec 17: Cedar Falls-Waterloo CBC with potluck for final tally
Meet at the Waterloo Hy-Vee on University (4000 University Ave, Waterloo, IA). Call Francis Moore 319-269-0741 for more information. You can even count birds at your own feeder. We generally meet back at the Hy-Vee for a quick lunch and then those who want can continue to bird in the afternoon.

Sunday, Dec 17th: Christmas Bird Count Potluck, 5 pm:  Even if you don’t bird with us, please join us the Cedar Falls Visitor Center (6510 Hudson Road, Cedar Falls, IA) for a potluck at 5 p.m. Bring a dish to share, your own table service and beverage, and we will share good food, fellowship and stories as we tally our species count for the Bremer and Cedar Falls-Waterloo CBCs.

Tue. Dec 19: Eldora-Union CBC
Call Mark Proescholdt at 641-496-5219 for details.

Fri. Dec 22: Buchanan County CBC
Contact Danny Akers at 563-880-4270 for details

Waterloo Named 1st Bird Friendly City in Iowa!
Mayor Hart & PRAS Board Members receive Iowa's 1st Bird Friendly city designation.
PRAS received special recognition at the October 16th Waterloo City Council meeting when officials with Bird Friendly Iowa presented Mayor Quentin Hart with the state's first Bird Friendly City designation.
Bird Friendly Iowa seeks to protect, restore and enhance bird habitat; reduce threats to birds; educate and engage people in birding and conservation. Earning the "Bird Friendly City" honor, is akin to the "Tree City USA" status that Waterloo also enjoys. Both programs have criteria that communities need to meet to qualify. See the many reasons, Waterloo is bird friendly...

Red Crossbills - Photo courtesy Wikimedia
Be on the watch for uncommon winter birds...
Birders all across Iowa are seeing Red Crossbills as it seems to be an irruption year for this species. These large finches  are really cool as their "crossed bills" are perfectly adapted to extract seeds from pine cones. These birds forage in conifers and may even come to your bird feeders. Cemeteries are good places to look for these birds; listen for their "chip, chip, chip" calls. Let us know if you see these birds and we will post your sighting to the website.

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We share information about field trips, local sightings, fun and interesting photos and stories about birds, nature, the environment, etc. on our Facebook page. Check it out and like us and "share" our posts.