Join Us: Black Hawk County Christmas Bird Count, Saturday, Dec. 20th 7:00 a.m.
Buchanan County Christmas Bird Count, Sunday, Dec. 28th 7:30 a.m.
Hardin County Christmas Bird Count, Monday, Dec. 29th Time TBA
See the "Field Trips" page for more details.

Holiday gift ideas...

Solar Bird Watering Dish
For the birds:
  • All birds need fresh water, so this holiday season give your yard birds the gift of a birdbath heater or a birdbath with built-in heater. Birds flock to heated open water all winter long. Check out the Cedar River Milling store in Gilbertville for all of your birding supplies and seed.  
  • Mix up a batch of homemade suet, freeze and cut into holiday shapes then hang on tree branches in your yard. See the Etc. page for a homemade suet recipe.
  • Help fund conservation efforts by donating to organizations that work to preserve habitat like PRAS or the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation or participate in the McBride Raptor Project or National Audubon Society’s “Adopt a Bird” programs.
  • Donate to wildlife hospitals. Help injured birds by donating to organizations that work tirelessly to rehabilitate injured birds and mammals: Black Hawk Rehabilitation Project (which rehabbed the albino Barred Owl found in Cedar Falls this summer), the McBride Raptor Project, or SOAR (Saving Our Avian Resources).
  • After the holidays, place your used Christmas tree out in your yard near your birdfeeders to provide birds extra shelter and cover from predators while they feed during the cold winter months.

For the birders in your life:
  • Make your own gift certificate with an offer to accompany the recipient to a favorite park or a new spot to observe winter birds. For the perfect complimentary stocking stuffer be sure to include a batch of hand and foot warmers.
  • Give them a membership in the Prairie Rapids Audubon Society or the Iowa Ornithologists' Union. Or perhaps consider membership in these bird-friendly Midwest organizations: International Owl Center in Houston, MN; National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN or the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI.
  • There’s an app for that…For smartphone users, treat them to an app that replaces the need to carry a book to identify birds. iBird Pro, Sibleys or the National Audubon bird identification apps are available for your iPhone or Android devices. Don’t forget to include a pair of touch-screen compatible gloves so your birder can use their new apps during winter!

Share your enthusiasm for birds with these great gifts for the non-birders in your life:

Tis the season...for Christmas Bird Counts!
From December 14 through January 5 tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas take part in an adventure that has become a family tradition among generations. Families and students, birders and scientists, armed with binoculars, bird guides and checklists go out on an annual mission. For over one hundred years, the desire to both make a difference and to experience the beauty of nature has driven dedicated people to leave the comfort of a warm house during the Holiday season.
From feeder-watchers and field observers to count compilers and regional editors, everyone who takes part in the Christmas Bird Count does it for love of birds and the excitement of friendly competition -- and with the knowledge that their efforts are making a difference for science and bird conservation. -- National Audubon Society
Join PRAS members as we conduct Christmas Bird Counts for Bremer and Black Hawk Counties. You can join us for an hour or two or for the whole day...you decide!  You may also conduct a feeder count at your own house as long as it is located in the official count circle.  If you have questions or want to do a feeder count, email admin@gopras.org and your message will get forwarded to Francis Moore, our CBC coordinator. 

See the "Field Trips" page for details on Christmas Bird Counts for Bremer, Black Hawk, Buchanan and Hardin Counties.

All birders participating in the Christmas Bird Counts will meet for a hot soup potluck supper at the Cedar Falls Visitor's Center on Hudson Road after the Black Hawk County count on Dec. 20th from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.  If you can bring something to share, that would be fine. If not, that's okay...there is always plenty of food at PRAS events! Both the Bremer County and Black Hawk County observations will be tallied at this time. Food, fun and fellowship will be on the menu for all who attend so join us and help contribute to this "citizen science" activity that has become a seasonal tradition for bird watchers and nature lovers alike.