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Great Outdoors: Keeping The Bird Count

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Rick Hollis, Barry Buschelman and Tina Roling were trying to attract a great horned owl. The threesome spent much of the morning walking, listening, and looking for birds.

Hollis hoped to spot a brown creeper.

"I call it the anti-nuthatch. A nuthatch flies up a tree and works its way down. The brown creeper flies to the bottom of the tree and works its way up the tree."

When a bird is sighted, Rick enters the information. He says year to year variations are not significant, but measuring by decades can identify trends.

"Last year in the Iowa City count, we did not have ring neck pheasant for the first time. Now we see house finches. We did not have house finches here 20 years ago."

For this year's Christmas count in the Iowa City area, Hollis is guessing 70 species will be spotted.

"There's always things you don't expect to see that people will turn up."