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      Rainy day doesn't keep bird counters away

      Friday's rain dampened the roads in Bloomfied and Ottumwa, but it didn't dampen spirits.

      A group of volunteers headed out on the Wapello Conservation Board's annual Christmas Bird Count early Friday morning, hoping to spot rare or unique birds. Last year, they were able to see Trumpeter Swans.

      "So far it's been kinda a rainy day, so it hasn't been anything out of the ordinary for bird sightings," Wapello County Naturalist Annette Wittrock said. "We're seeing the eagles and gulls and geese, which is usually what we see the most of around here."

      Wittrock estimated that she and the other participants glimpsed about 20 different species and around 500 birds total.

      People could also participate in the count from their homes, by watching their feeders and reporting numbers to be included in the count.

      The annual bird count is a nationwide event that is in its 111th year.

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