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
  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Jury begins deliberations DAVENPORT — The fate of a Wapello County man accused of killing his wife is in the hands of a jury in Scott County, which began deliberations Wednesday and will continue deliberating today.The jury began deliberations about 4 p.m. Wednesday in the ca

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Van Buren says bye-bye to Waste Management KEOSAUQUA — Waste Management has been charging the Van Buren Community School District an average of nearly $1,600 a month to remove waste and recycled materials from the Douds and Keosauqua centers. Now faced with a bidding process, Waste Management

    July 23, 2014

  • Pesticide use is not all bad OTTUMWA — When you pick up a grocery ad, it seems like every other page has a produce item stamped USDA Organic, meaning that those items were spared from chemicals including Glyphosate, the most common pesticide in the world. As the Organic Food Mov

    July 23, 2014

  • 0724 OTT Kitchen Science color photo -L -T Kitchen science sparks curiosity OTTUMWA — A lucky group of children spent Wednesday morning experimenting with kitchen science and creating geysers of foam at the Knights of Columbus hall. The Kitchen Science performance was presented by Waterloo's Grout Museum and is part of the O

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Prosecution: All evidence points to Techel as killer DAVENPORT — Just as all roads lead to Rome, so all evidence points to a Wapello County man accused of killing his wife, according to the prosecution. Assistant Attorney General Andrew Prosser, who is prosecuting the case for the third time, said defe

    July 23, 2014

  • Making something of themselves OTTUMWA — Community leaders this week heard how Ottumwa's Job Corps started from nothing yet became successful. But they also heard from students who said they were doing nothing until they found success through Job Corps. "After I dropped out of hig

    July 23, 2014

  • New charges filed in abuse case OTTUMWA — A single charge against a man for sexual abuse has been replaced by a new trial information, and authorities are throwing the book at him. Grant Troxel was initially charged in early June with sexual abuse. But the new list of charges indic

    July 23, 2014

  • 0724 OTT car investigation color photo -L Tip led to Tuesday arrest OTTUMWA — There was more to the incident Tuesday in which officers surrounded a car near U.S. Bank in downtown Ottumwa than just a routine traffic stop. Police Chief Tom McAndrew said Jason Tobek, 36, is in custody and faces charges of interference w

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Eldon man gets five year prison term KEOSAUQUA — An Eldon man was sentenced to five years in prison in Van Buren District Court for his role in an October 2012 altercation in Selma, which escalated into shots being fired into the home or Randall Ritz, 11883 Bridge St., Selma. Donald E.

    July 23, 2014

  • Emergency council meeting Friday OTTUMWA — Ottumwa’s City Council will meet for a second time this week, this time to discuss an emergency problem at the city’s Water Pollution Control Facility. The special meeting will be conducted at 1 p.m. Friday in the council chambers. Earlier

    July 23, 2014

Photo reprints