O'Brien County's Bell-Times-Courier -

Annual Eagle Watch At Prairie Heritage Center


Naturalist Charlene Elyea greets visitors to the Annual Eagle Watch held last Saturday at the Prairie Heritage Center.

The Annual Eagle Watch was held last Saturday at the Prairie Heritage Center near Peterson. Despite the cold and windy weather quite a few people ventured out to observe and learn more about the eagles that are making a comeback in the area. Charlene Elyea, Naturalist and other volunteers were available to help visitors spot and identify eagles.

Every year the Iowa DNR with the help of volunteers takes a survey of eagles in the state during the first two weeks of the year. This year the survey tallied 2,924 birds in the state. A count that was a bit lower than the count for last year, but given several factors such as a mild winter which means birds from up north that would normally migrate south to look for food would not need to, and the birds that nest in Iowa are more spread out making them harder to count. One must also note that because of the government shutdown there were four routes that could not be counted at all.

The count is split into adult and immature were possible, as in some cases age cannot be determined. This year it totaled 1,893 adults and 952 immatures for the state. The reason for the separation in the count of adult and immatures is to determine the success of reproduction of the eagles in the state.

Noted photographer and writer Ty Smede gave a presentation on "Raptors of the Midwest.

Overall in the state the areas with the largest counts were the Mississippi and Des Moines River with the Missouri River a close third.

In addition to the planned activities of the Eagle Watch Ty Smedes, a noted nature photographer and writer was there to give a presentation on raptors.

The presentation titled "Raptors of the Midwest" was well attended and informative to all. Mr. Smedes is knowledgeable in the field and gives a well rounded, thoughtful and fun presentation enhanced by his photographs of the various wildlife he is discussing. Mr. Smedes did not confine his presentation to eagles but went into a broad description of raptors some native and some that migrate here throughout the year

Mr. Smedes was kind enough to allow the presentation to be videotaped and it is available for viewing on our web site at http://www.belltimescourier.com


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