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December 2014 Bird Of Month
Short-eared Owl

A bird of open grasslands, the Short-eared Owl is one of the most widely distributed owls in the world. It is usually active before dark, flight wavering, wing beats erratic. Groups may gather where prey is abundant in marshes, fields, and tundra. Often described as “moth-like”, it flaps its wings high in a slow, floppy fashion. Hunts day and night, mainly at dawn and dusk in winter. Flies low over open ground, locating prey by ear. Kills prey with a bite to the back of the skull; often swallows prey whole. Short-eared Owls don’t need trees; they nest right on the ground.  Female Short-eared Owls choose a high place or a mound and scratch out a bowl-shaped depression, filling it with grass and soft, downy feathers. Birds that nest on the ground are at high risk from predators like foxes, cats, dogs, and other wild and domestic animals. In our area, look for them at dusk at the Owego Wetlands in the winter beginning in early November.


Loess Hills Audubon Society meets at the Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, 4500 Sioux River Road the first Thursday of the month during the months of October thru May at 7:30 P.M. The first meeting of the year is the annual potluck at Stone Lodge in Stone State Park at 6:00 P.M.

Each of these meetings includes a quality program of various subjects. The public is invited and welcome to attend these meetings. Check the Meetings Page for information on upcoming programs.

Birding outings occur monthly. The public is invited and welcome to attend these outings. Check the Outings Page for information on upcoming outings.

Loess Hills Audubon Society
PO Box 5133
Sioux City, IA 51102

Mission Statement

The Loess Hills Audubon Society exists to educate individuals and the general public, to enjoy and promote birding, to support ornithology, and to be an advocate for wild areas and environmental issues.


"Loess Hills Audubon Society is a Chapter of National Audubon Society, Inc."

Last Month's Bird Of The Month

November 2014 Bird Of Month
Cedar Waxwing

A treat to find in your binocular view field, the Cedar Waxwing is a silky, shiny collection of brown, gray, and lemon-yellow, accented with a subdued crest, rakish black mask, and brilliant-red wax droplets on the wing feathers. In fall these birds gather by the hundreds to eat berries, filling the air with their high, thin, whistles. In summer you’re as likely to find them flitting about over rivers in pursuit of flying insects, where they show off dazzling aeronautics for a forest bird. Because they eat so much fruit, Cedar Waxwings occasionally become intoxicated or even die when they run across overripe berries that have started to ferment and produce alcohol. The name "waxwing" comes from the waxy red secretions found on the tips of the secondaries of some birds. The exact function of these tips is not known, but they may help attract mates. Look for Cedar Waxwings in woodlands of all kinds, and at farms, orchards, and suburban gardens where there are fruiting trees or shrubs. It can be found year-round in Iowa.