International Festival of Owls - Houston MN

Houston, MN is located only about 2.5 hours from the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area in SE Minnesota, just 22 miles from LaCrosse, WI.

This festival has interesting talks by owl experts from around the world. Learn about owl conservation; go on an owl prowl or birding field trip.

Owl themed vendors are present at this family friendly event. See the complete schedule of events.

The World Bird Sanctuary from St. Louis, MO will do the live bird talks featuring these species: Eurasian Eagle Owl, Spectacled Owl and a flying Barn Owl.

While in town, visit the city park and see the owl sculpture completed last year and be sure to stop at the International Owl Center and see their resident live birds, including Great Horned Owls, an Eurasian Eagle Owl, and Barn Owl.


Learn more about birds...


Calling All Nature & Art Lovers...
Two photography exhibits at eastern Iowa museums celebrate the beauty of nature.
Cedar Rapids Museum of Art: Framing The World: The Photography of Linda & Robert Scarth - January 13-April 29, 2018
This exhibition displays a wide variety of the subjects the Scarths have photographed over the years: flowers, insects, birds, and other animals, all demonstrating the Scarth’s fascination with the beauty, fragility, and resilience of the natural world. The Scarths were popular speakers at our PRAS programs and their photos are stunning. Sadly, shortly after finalizing the selection of works for this exhibition, Linda Scarth passed away on July 3, 2017.

Old Capitol Museum, Iowa City: National Geographic Photo Ark - November 16, 2017-May 20, 2018
Free Admission
The National Geographic Photo Ark is a multiyear effort to raise awareness of and find solutions to some of the most pressing issues affecting wildlife and their habitats. The Photo Ark's three-pronged approach harnesses the power of National Geographic's photography and the bold ideas of our explorers. Led by National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore, the project aims to document every species in the world's zoos and wildlife sanctuaries, inspire action through education, and help save wildlife by supporting on-the-ground conservation efforts.

Congratulations PRAS Member Stacey Snyder
I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award Winner!

Stacey Snyder (left), Orange Elementary instructor and her 4th grade students.
PRAS member Stacey Snyder, Orange Elementary teacher, was awarded one of six 2018 I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Awards on January 23rd. Her work with many projects in science were mentioned, including the citizen science projects like birding surveys. PRAS members, Tom Schilke and Mike Tompkins recently spent 2 days at Camp EWALU with Stacey's 5th grade students learning about winter birds. Congratulations Stacey!


Winter Bird Watching
Bald Eagle Watching Events -  Various locations 

Remember to renew your PRAS membership in January! See the Join/Renew page for details.

Snowy Owl @ Sweet Marsh, Bremer County  Photo by Kip Ladage
Snowy Owls
This winter seems to be adding up to being an irruption year for Snowy Owls. Check out the map on the Iowa Ornithologists' Union website to see if Snowy has been seen near you. If you see a Snowy Owl let us know...one has been seen in Black Hawk and Bremer Counties; so far, there have been 30+ 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 safety.

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.