Join Us: Two new fields trips are scheduled!
Wed. September 2nd: Sweet Marsh in Bremer County - Target bird: Sandhill Cranes. 
Thur. September 10th: Orange Elementary School, Waterloo - Target bird: Chimney Swifts
See the "Field Trips" page for details. 

1st Prairie Rapids Audubon Society meeting of the 2015-16 season
     When: Tuesday, September 8th at 7:00 p.m. 
     Where: First Presbyterian Church, 902 Main Street, Cedar Falls -- Everyone is welcome.
     PRAS meetings are always open to the public.
Guest Speaker: Ty Smedes - Voyage To The Bottom Of The World 
Popular guest speaker, Ty Smedes returns to share a stunning presentation about his travels to the southern reaches of the globe. Ty will take us to the Falkland Islands, home to Rockhopper Penguins and the site of the largest Black-browed Albatross colony. Next we'll travel vicariously to South Georgia Island, the diamond in the Southern Ocean's crown of Sub-Antarctic islands, a spectacular glaciated landscape home to some of the greatest wildlife densities found anywhere on earth. Ty will take us ashore to visit the huge Fur Seal Colonies and to witness the titanic struggle between bull Elephant Seals, each battling to become beach-master. We will visit King Penguin colonies numbering 250,000 or more.  We’ll see and hear their struggles to survive in a challenging climate, where some of the roughest seas in the world meet. This island, just 100 miles long and with 100 million birds, is the most wildlife-rich island on the planet!  Along the Antarctic Peninsula, Ty will show us the dazzling blue icebergs in shapes that defy the imagination.  These host several penguin species and the leopard seals that hunt them - framed by a backdrop of endless glaciers and stunning mountain-scapes.  Join us for this educational and visually stunning presentation about this incredibly beautiful and wildlife-rich part of the world.
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Help us set a new record! Send your Bird-A-Thon pledge...
Click here to see the 215 Bird-A-Thon species observed.

We are very close to meeting (and exceeding!) our goal of raising $7,000 this year! So far, 97 contributors have donated $6,! Thanks to all who have contributed! We appreciate your generosity. For those who haven't sent in your contribution...every donation, large or small counts. See the "Making a Difference" page to learn of the projects we funded this past year, including a Chimney Swift Tower at Orange Elementary (Waterloo), funding for educational materials for Fontana Park (Buchanan County), and funds for a new viewing platform at Pintail Wetland (Hardin County).

Please send your Bird-A-Thon check to:
Craig Rash, 105 Woodland Springs Road, Denver, IA 50622-1039.  

Flickr Creative Commons, Photo by  Ben Cvengros
314 Species At Risk: Le Conte's Sparrow
These birds have been observed during fall migration at Sweet Marsh (Bremer County), Pintail Marsh (Hardin County) and Prairie Lakes in Cedar Falls (Black Hawk County). 
See the video featuring this species on the "Etc." page.
Fun facts about Le Conte's Sparrows:
  • The song of the Le Conte’s Sparrow is distinctly non-musical and harsh, resembling something more like a grasshopper than what most think of as birdsong.
  • This sparrow is almost impossible to flush, as it prefers running along the ground to flying.
  • Although the Le Conte's Sparrow was first discovered in 1790, the first nest was not found until nearly 100 years later. 
  • Few Le Conte's Sparrows have ever been banded. Of the 355 banded between 1967 and 1984, none were ever recovered. 
  • A group of sparrows has many collective nouns, including a "crew", "flutter", "quarrel" and "ubiquity" of sparrows. -- Information provided by iBird Pro 3 and the National Audubon website.