The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

December 28, 2013

Birds flock together

OTTUMWA — A wildlife survey may not always be easy, but scientists and animal enthusiasts say they're important.

"The Christmas Bird Count is basically used to figure out the health of bird populations," said Annette Whitrock, naturalist for the Wapello County Conservation Board, "and that information can be used in conservation decisions."

Not just in Wapello County, either. According to the National Audubon Society, the count they sponsor is "the longest [running] citizen science survey in the world ... Christmas Bird Count provides critical data on population trends."

So it was a bit disappointing to Whitrock that locally, the weather interrupted her tally.

"We didn't get to finish the count because weather was an issue," she said Friday, the day she finished adding up her figures from the count. "We counted a total of five hours, which is about three hours shorter than we normally do. We stayed out as long as we could, until it got dangerous, then we called it a day."

The wind, the mist and the foggy conditions also meant there were not a lot of birds out. The temperature dropped throughout the day.

Also blamed on the weather: a shortage of homeowners reporting bird numbers, and only two volunteers showed up to help Whitrock.

Yet, she said, thousands of volunteers around the country are doing the same count, and Wapello County has participated for years. So the count is meant to show a trend, the naturalist suspects, not just the specific number of birds in one community.

"It all goes into the same database. This gets sent on to regional, and [eventually] gets sent to the Audubon Society. It's an annual event, and we've been doing it as long I've been here (starting seven years ago), and I know they did it before that."

Text Only
Local News
  • Ladies Night Out through downtown Ottumwa Friday OTTUMWA — Ladies, are you ready for a night on the town? Then grab your passport and head downtown Friday evening. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. Friday, 28 downtown businesses will keep their doors open late for a special Ladies Night Out. Everyone will mee

    April 20, 2014

  • 0422 Eagle photo On a wing and a prayer

    LAKE RED ROCK — Protective gloves aren’t uncommon when dealing with a sick patient, though they’re not usually heavy, leather welder’s gloves. But, then, the patient usually doesn’t have toenails designed to puncture flesh. Or a sharp beak. Diane Mas

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0420 OTT Gothic house easter web-color photo American Gothic House celebrates Easter weekend Kids participate in an egg roll competition Saturday on the American Gothic House lawn in Eldon. Families were invited to come and participate in Easter-themed events and make crafts. They also had the opportunity to dress up and pose in front of the

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0422 OTT Egg hunt color photo -L On a roll this Easter ELDON — If you pulled up to the American Gothic House Center Saturday afternoon at moments before 1 p.m., you probably had to park halfway down the road. Cars filled the parking lot and spilled out onto the street as parents and kids from all over so

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ups and downs OTTUMWA — Iowa's governor and his lieutenant seemed thrilled with part of the employment news Friday. Gov. Terry Branstad's Twitter page said: "BREAKING: Iowa's employment reaches all-time high of 1,615,200." Iowa Workforce Development confirms the n

    April 18, 2014

  • Those who came before OTTUMWA — There is so much information on researching genealogy, beginners may not know where to start. But experts and knowledgeable amateurs will offer help as they gather for a free Family History Fair to share which websites are worthwhile and wh

    April 18, 2014

  • 0419 OTT Tree planting color photo -T -M -L Young Ottumwans show their green thumbs OTTUMWA — Several of Ottumwa’s cemeteries and parks were recipients of new trees this week as Ottumwa High School students and Eagle Scouts dedicated their time to planting dozens of trees around the city. Students from the OHS JROTC class were at Ot

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • 0419 OTT Prayer Walk 2 bw photo -L -M -T On a journey OTTUMWA — The seven blocks through the center of Ottumwa took more than an hour and a half to walk as 25 people prayed and read Scripture to reflect on the events of Good Friday. Led by the Ottumwa Area Fellowship of Pastors, the walk began at First

    April 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • 0419 OTT drought map -L -T -M Drought weakens grip on Iowa OTTUMWA — Last weekend saw the first significant rains in quite some time for the Ottumwa area. How long? The last day with at least a half-inch of rain was back on Nov. 20. It was a welcome rain, arriving after the ground had thawed. That allowed at

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Eugene Clark STOCKPORT — Eugene Morris Clark, 90, of Stockport, died at 5:30 p.m. April 17, 2014, at Good Samaritan Health and Rehabilitation Center, Ottumwa. Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in Spencer Cemetery northeast of Stockport; Pastor Richard

    April 18, 2014

Photo reprints