Stowaway Saw-Whet in Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Have you seen this NBC News report? If not, give it a look.

Bricks for Birds - Hartman Reserve
A campaign is underway to raise funds to install a paved walkway through a renovated bird feeding station area and a new pollinator garden at the Hartman Reserve Nature Center. See how you can help support this important project that seeks to edify and enhance everyone's experience at the nature center. Check out this Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier article and the Hartman Nature Center website for more information.

Winter Finch Irruptions
Keep your eyes out for winter finches like Common RedpollsHoary RedpollsEvening Grosbeaks, Pine Grosbeaks, and Red Crossbills or White-winged Crossbills. There have been several sightings throughout the state and in our PRAS counties. They may even show up at your feeders! If they do, please let us know at and send us photos. 

Male & two female Evening Grosbeaks. Photo by Mark Dutton

Male Evening Grosbeak with female House Sparrrows. Photo by Mark Dutton

Christmas Bird Count 2020
Saturday, Dec 19, 2020: Bremer County
Sunday, Dec 20, 2020: Cedar Falls-Waterloo
The CBC's this year will be a bit different in order to comply with guidelines issued by the National Audubon Society, in face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • We will not be having a compilation potluck this year. 
  • Stay tuned for more details which will be posted on our website and in future emails. 
  • If you have questions, contact CBC Compiler, Francis Moore at or 319-269-0741.

If you miss our Zoom programs you may find the recordings that we have permission to post on the 
Newsletters & Zoom page of this website or on Prairie Rapids Audubon Society's YouTube channel

Photography Helps to Save Birds
Click the link above to see striking photos of exotic species. We appreciate all of the wonderful photos that our members share. We know that when people can marvel at the beauty of birds and other creatures up close, an appreciation is curated. Those who appreciate the beauty of nature are more likely inspired to take action to save it.

Be sure to enjoy the beautiful photos of PRAS members on these blogs: Speaking of Nature by PRAS Board Member, Kenneth Heiar and Ladage Photography, by Kip Ladage. You can always find links to these blogs and many other identification sites, birdcams, etc. on our "Links" page. Plus we have great photos on our Flickr account accessible via the "Photos" link.

FREE Virtual Programs on Owls and Cranes
Aldo Leopold Foundation-Baraboo, WI: Crane Watching
Each fall, thousands of sandhill cranes congregate along the Wisconsin River just behind Leopold's Shack—and this year is no different. The cranes, free from 2020's pandemic-induced barriers, are flocking to Leopold Country by the thousands, and we're committed to sharing the experience with you. This December, we invite you to view the wildlife spectacle in a new way as we bring the sights and sounds of 10,000 cranes right to your living room through free, virtual programs on Dec 8, 10, & 15th at 7 p.m.  Thank you Linda Fitzgerald for sharing information for this program!

International Owl Center-Houston, MN: Owl Expert Speaker Series
Sunday, Nov 29, 2020 - 1:00 p.m.  Owls in Myth & Culture: A Global Perspective by David H. Johnson, Director or the Global Owl Project, Virginia, USA  
Program is free, but registration is required.

If you see Trumpeter Swans with neck collars--report them to the Iowa DNR to help them with population research for this species. Click the link above for details. Remember, the reintroduction of Trumpeter Swans to Iowa is one of our state's success stories. Your participation in the citizen science activity of reporting collared or banded birds is one way you can contribute.

Defend the Arctic

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, located in the northeast corner of Alaska, is one of the finest examples of wilderness remaining anywhere in the world.  It is a perfect example of intact, naturally functioning Arctic and subarctic ecosystems that is unparalleled in North America.  The heart of this area is the 1,563,500-acre coastal plain, and this is where the Trump administration has finalized plans to drill for oil and gas.

These plans would be disastrous for the nearly 200 species of birds, caribou, polar bears and other wildlife that call the coastal plain home.  Development would create a spider web of drilling rigs, oil pipelines, and roads that would permanently alter this pristine area.  Drilling also would have a devastating impact on the human rights of the Indigenous Peoples who live and depend on this land they consider sacred.

If you agree that this oil and gas should stay in the ground, especially when the world is moving away from the use of fossil fuels to lessen the effects of climate change, please go online to and sign the petition that has been prepared by a large coalition of environmental organizations, including the National Audubon Society.

Bird Food Fund Needs a Boost
Thanks to all who have generously donated funds to our bird food fund! We appreciate any and all donations. PRAS maintains bird feeding stations at George Wyth, Cedar Falls Visitor Center and the Cedar Valley Hospice.

Send donations to: PRAS P.O. Box 682 Waterloo, IA 50704 or make a donation using our secure PayPal link on the About Us page.

In the Sky: November 2020
Of special interest will be the movement of brilliant, but dimming, Mars into the evening sky.  See it soon before it dims.  It joins very bright Jupiter and Saturn that will be in the southwestern sky. - 
Enjoy, David Voigts
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member,
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds --
  - Thomas Hood, English poet (1799-1845)

Waterloo Saving Mussels By Slow Deflation of Dam
You may have heard on the news that the city of Waterloo will be taking its time to deflate the dam on the Cedar River this year, but the KWWL report didn't explain why this method was being used. Actually, the slow deflation of the dam will save thousands of freshwater mussels. Click the title link for the article to read more about this process and the reasons why mussels are so important to our ecosystem.

Sorry for the ads attached to this news article, the link to the Waterloo Courier article may have required a subscription to access, so I found this article on the Internet. - CH

Want to learn more about the important role fresh water mussels play in a healthy ecosystem, join us on Zoom for our January speaker, Jared McGovern, from the Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium to learn more. Join us on Tuesday, January 12th, at 7 p.m. Look for more details and the Zoom link and login credentials closer to the date of our program.

Find an injured bird or animal? 

Contribute to our Flickr Photo Stream
Go to this URL:
Click "Login" 
The email address associated with PRAS's account is:
Email 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.