national Audubon Christmas bird count which has been ongoing for 111 years.
This year the Amana bird counters were in luck and had a beautiful day to explore the land that encompasses the Amana Colonies. They had glistening white hoarfrost in the morning and a mild sunny 20 degree afternoon to enjoy the
landscape. Good weather makes the outing just that more enjoyable. The Annual bird count is a great excuse to get out in nature and explore on a day where you probably would be just sitting around eating left over Christmas cookies before they get stale. Iowa
The morning of the bird count, the adventurous few get up before the sun and go “owling”. Playing owl calls in hope for a response, those owls that do get counted. This is a social activity for the birders. They regularly meet up during the count and compare notes, see what bird have not been counted and discuss a game plan to find the missing birds.
sometimes must be looked for in the afternoon, when they like to feed. The Brown Headed Cow Bird was elusive this year and was not to be found at a feeder or a cow pasture. This is strange, since it has been seen 22 out of the 27 year history of the bird count. There were two new, never seen birds on this years count, the Snow Bunting and the Carolina Wren. Turkey
The Amana Colonies are a great place for bird watching. Its diverse habitat attracts such birds as rare Warblers who like to hang out in the woods to Sandpipers and shorebirds that make the
their temporary home. Lanny Haldy, who is the director at the Amana Heritage Society, has been keeping a count of birds that he has seen in the Amana Colonies year round. Since 1975 he has seen 260 different bird species here. There have been 87 different species seen on the Christmas bird count over the 27 years. This year 43 species were seen, which is about normal. Lily Lake
Off to explore nature in my town: Amana Colonies