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In the Sky: July 2021
This can be a good month to learn the constellation Corvus (the Crow).

A small star, LHS-2520, in the constellation Corvus (the Crow) hosts the planet Krypton, the home planet of Clark Kent, aka Superman.
        - Neil deGrasse Tyson, American Astronomer (who chose it because the Smallville Crows are the football team of Clark's school and the star could house a suitable planet.)


New! Merlin App - Sound ID Feature
Ever wonder what bird is singing in your backyard? Want to brush up on your identification skills by ear? Try the new Sound ID feature from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. 
To get started: On an Internet connection download the Merlin app to your smartphone, then press the "Sound ID" button on the home screen and you should be prompted to download sound files for likely birds in your area. (Note: You can do these steps in the field if you have a strong enough signal, but it is easier and quicker to download the app and appropriate files on Wi-Fi.)

To ID birds by sound with Merlin's help: In the field, go to the Merlin app and press the "Sound ID" button then press the microphone button to begin recording and you will see the app start "listening for birds". It will then start suggesting the species that are likely making the vocalizations. 

Caveat: At times it may throw in a funky bird that is out of range, etc., and it is likely to do that if you have not downloaded the sound files for the "likely birds" in your area. but it is surprisingly helpful. 

Anecdotal experience: I tried the Sound ID function on the fly along the Cedar Valley Bike Trail to confirm my guess that I was hearing a Willow Flycatcher in the wetland area and it was spot on! I also tried it around the McFarlane bridge and it identified multiple birds by song and by chip notes. When there are more birds listed, it will highlight in pale yellow the loudest species at a given moment. See the screenshare from my phone. I have now downloaded the files and so I am set the next time I am out and about. It surprisingly picks up the vocalizations from afar...it listed Mourning Dove before I even heard it and sure enough when I listened, I heard the doves calling from some distance away. - C. Havely

Have fun experimenting with this and use it as a tool to help you learn avian vocalizations, but recognize there are some limitations as all computer apps using artificial intelligence experience.  Read more about this new program here: New Merlin Bird Song ID Tool: Identify Birdsong Using Merlin App



Song on a Wire - Wikimedia Commons
Bird Flight Patterns and Music Concert Program
You are now able to access the online concert video and curriculum (see link and password below-posted with permission by the copyright holder).
The link provides the full concert video and online curriculum with activities, lessons, extra musical performances, composer interviews and educational games. 
This resource will remain active through June 2022 (for one year), so utilize it for your programs, personal edification working with your children or grandchildren to teach them about music and birds!

Password:  BFPMC  (case sensitive)


For Your Edification
Record Heat Compromises Raptor Nestlings
While in Wyoming in June, I witnessed an adult Ferruginous Hawk standing on the edge of the nest with wings outstretched shading her nestlings from the sun. I had never witnessed that before. It was very interesting to see. - C. Havely

Wind Energy-Birds & Bats - 6 minute video


OPTICS DRIVE
Donate old optics for birding initiatives in El Salvador or Uganda - See Birding Co-op's website for more details. 

The Birding Co-op Promotes Diversity
One of PRAS's goals for 2021 is to promote diversity in our organization and in  birding and conservation activities. Here is an organization that deserves a look. 
The Birding Co-op is a grassroots organization that promotes inclusivity in the global birding community by creating accessible travel experiences that foster meaningful connections among birders and nature enthusiasts while supporting communities through responsible tourism practices, advocating for social liberties, and advancing science-based environmental changes.

Denver Public Library Garden Is New Monarch Waystation

Denver Public Library Facebook post:

Our library garden is an official Monarch Waystation. Monarch Waystations provide milkweed, nectar plants, and shelter for monarchs throughout their annual cycle of reproduction and migration. Thank you to the Prairie Rapids Audubon Society for their support in helping the library achieve this goal and their continued support of projects in the Denver community.
 
Take inspiration from the Denver Public Library and join the effort to help preserve Monarch Butterflies by certifying your garden as a Monarch Waystation.

Want to learn more about monarchs and how each of us can make a difference, check out this new book: Bicycling with Butterflies: My 10,201 Mile Journey Following The Monarch Migration by Sara Dykman available at the Hawkeye Community College Library. Any member of the community may check out books from the Hawkeye CC Library; stop in and get a library card and peruse this book and others on the new book shelf.


Click the link above to read the article about UNI's  Dr. Jeff Tamplin and his research about this iconic turtle species.



Cornell Lab Bird Academy logo
i heart birds email banner-northern parula

When it comes to birdwatching, there’s no place like home. Colorful birds are a delight for the eyes and a balm for the soul. And it’s easy to make a haven for birds right outside your window:  When it comes to birdwatching, there’s no place like home. Colorful birds are a delight for the eyes and a balm for the soul. And it’s easy to make a haven for birds right outside your window:  

  • Put Up a Bird Feeder. The three bird-food staples are black-oil sunflower, nyjer, and suet, but there are plenty of others. Here's a handy tool that matches common birds with their favorite foods, so you know just what to buy. We can also help you choose a bird feeder
  • Give Them Water. Offering a quick sip and a place to bathe is a sure way to bring birds into your yard—including species that won’t visit feeders. Adding a water drip makes a birdbath even more irresistible. Download our full set of birdbath tips
  • Put Up a Bird Feeder. The three bird-food staples are black-oil sunflower, nyjer, and suet, but there are plenty of others. Here's a handy tool that matches common birds with their favorite foods, so you know just what to buy. We can also help you choose a bird feeder
  • Give Them Water. Offering a quick sip and a place to bathe is a sure way to bring birds into your yard—including species that won’t visit feeders. Adding a water drip makes a birdbath even more irresistible. Download our full set of birdbath tips


Birding at Washington Union Access



Yellow-Breasted Chat


Birders looking at Red-Shouldered Hawk


Photos by Tom Moon



Species observed PRAS Bird-A-Thon 2021

Get a printable Bird-A-Thon pledge form and return your pledges to:

Craig Rash 105 Woodland Springs Road, Denver Iowa 50622

Thank you again for your Bird-A-Thon donations; your support and efforts help PRAS in making a difference to our communities.

                
Osprey at Greenbelt Lake - Waterloo  Photo by John McCormick

      Find an injured bird or animal? Call Black Hawk Wildlife Rehabilitation Project 319-277-6511


Subscribe to the PRAS YouTube Channel if you are interested in watching recordings of our past Zoom meetings for which we have permission to post for viewing.

Contribute to our Flickr Photo Stream
Go to this URL:   https://www.flickr.com/photos/prairierapidsaudubon/
Click "Login" 
The email address associated with PRAS's account is:   praudubon@gmail.com
Email praudubon@gmail.com to request password for email; we won't post it here online.
Save the UN and PWD so it is quick and easy the next time you upload photos.
Click the Upload icon (looks like cloud with an arrow) and follow prompts.
Here is Flick's help page for uploads.
Click the Photos link on the above navigation bar to see photos.

Find us on Facebook
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.