Raptor Chronicles
By Colorado's Oldest Raptor Sanctuary
Message from the President

If I could pick a theme for this summer, I would declare it's the season of "trying new things". Or, as the guys from Monty Python's Flying Circus would say, "And now for something completely different!"

Most of you know that I am NOT a fan of the heat, and therefore, not a fan of summer. But we've been really busy this year with some unusual projects and "challenges", and after the last two quiet years of Covid, this is a refreshing change. For instance, last year, we had very few grasshoppers on our grounds. I read constantly about the world-wide decline in insects, which affects birds, particularly the grassland species of Colorado. This year we've had an astounding hatch of the creatures in biblical proportions; I've never seen so many tiny ones, and they have plenty of weeds and grasses to munch on. This is a GOOD thing for us, because apparently our supplier of waxworms is experiencing a strike of sorts: the worms aren't reproducing! Our Mississippi kite consumes 7-10 worms per day, in addition to her mice. This species is highly-insectivorous and she really does love bugs. Grasshoppers are normally a brief summer treat, but now we are living off the land, using nets and our hands to give our kite "weed-to-perch" fare. We're also competing with house sparrows and English starlings who are venturing close to our perimeter netting to take advantage of the arthropod boom. What we haven't seen much of this summer, are yellow jacket wasps...NO ONE is missing them, for sure!

As you'll see below, we're experimenting with moving some of our Arlo cameras around, to figure out what our raptors do when no one's watching, so to speak. The antics of our female bald eagle left us in tears, we were laughing so hard! I hope you enjoy the Fourth of July video as much we did. Speaking of bald eagle, another new project, a first for me, is the Desert Shield-Desert Storm Memorial project collaboration with sculptor Robert Eccleston. This is absolutely more of Peter's bailiwick than mine, given his extensive experience working the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and his friendship with one of the best wildlife sculptors in the world. However, my husband is an Air Force Desert Storm veteran, and it's a tremendous honor to contribute in a small way to this memorial honoring our armed forces.

Finally, the completion of our first, small "nature film" for the Denver Botanic Gardens seemed simple enough, but turned out to be WAY more complicated than either Peter or I imagined. The timing of the narration to match the action on the screen, while still squeezing in important natural history information, was very challenging. For weeks, I attempted to channel my inner David Attenborough...let's just say I have a long way to go!

Thank you again for your support of our birds and our mission, because to quote the legendary Sir David:

"I know of no pleasure deeper than that which comes from contemplating the natural world
and trying to understand it."

~Anne Price, President
Independence Day: Play, Bathe, Dine
What's the secret to a great Fourth of July celebration? Exercise, a bit of horse (eagle?) play, a vigorous bath, and a carefully-prepared meal!

While America celebrated our Independence Day, we treated our audiences to 11 minutes of uncensored, bald eagle antics. We showcased some of the most interesting and hilarious footage we've ever captured of our seven year-old female.

The opening minute shows our girl "playing" with a chunk of cottonwood branch which she inherited from our beloved female golden eagle, who passed away in 2021 at the age of 40 years. This unremarkable piece of branch was carried around for perhaps 60 days each year during the nesting season by our golden, but it's now become a favorite toy for our bald. We find it EVERYWHERE in her enclosure, from up on her high, corner hood, to floating in her large black bath. Apparently it's also some kind of Jazzercise weight!

At 1:02, we get VERY up close and personal as our eagle decides to check out the new camera's position in the pen. It's very strongly adhered to a metal post with a powerful magnet, but it's still moveable by the strong and extremely curious raptor. The fish-eye lens is distorting the shape and size of her beak somewhat, but it's this strong and sharp yellow tool that allows a tough fish skull to be ripped open. At 2:10 you'll get a quick, but great view of the inside of her mouth. We're pretty sure that what she's also doing is something called "feaking", which is an ancient English falconry term for the cleaning of the beak. Almost all raptors regularly wipe and move their beak on a branch, perch, or even the glove of their handler after eating, in order to remove blood and "schmoo" (another technical term) from their faces and maintain cleanliness.

4:21 is bath time! We've posted some bath videos of our gal before, but this angle demonstrates that she really is a SEA eagle. Bathing is critical for birds to maintain their waterproofing, and especially important during the winter months to ensure that clean and healthy feathers can maintain bird's body temperature.

The party concludes at 8:10 with the end of the eagle's dinner. We sometimes find one large piece of meat in the bath, uneaten and many feet away from where we place her food each afternoon. Raccoons are well-known for washing their prey in the water, and apparently at least one bald eagle does the same! Is she rehydrating leftovers, or taking her dinner along while she has a sip during meal time? We're honestly not certain; what we do know is that of all the raptors we care for, she's the one who will spread her leftovers all over the pen.

Hope everyone had a great Fourth of July!
Burrowing Owls: Then There Were Seven!
Welcome to the first of series of raptor vignettes, which Peter filmed and edited together to make the 15-minute film shown at the Denver Botanic Gardens as part of our multi-faceted July 22nd appearance...scroll down for more on this very fun day!

Burrowing owls are a common resident of the summer prairies of Colorado, but they can be tough to spot for many reasons, not the least of which is because they are 1.) dirt-colored, 2.) sleep underground at night, and 3) are only about six inches tall.
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
Listen to this short discussion with Frans de Waal, Dutch primatologist and ethologist, and Jordan Peterson, one of Canada's most wise and articulate primates as they discuss "are we studying animals incorrectly?" We're asked questions about raptor intelligence all the time.This interesting discussion will illuminate both the validity and absurdity of that question as it applies to any non-human species.
Lots of Other Ways to Help!
A Special Anniversary Offer on All Three of Our Books!
Celebrate our 42nd anniversary by purchasing our
three books at this special price!
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Winner of the 2020 Skipping Stones Honor Award for Nature and Ecology Books

“A unique book aimed at introducing young and beginning birders to the world of raptors. . . . Creative for certain! Helpful, too.”–Jim Williams, Wingnut Blog, Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A very cool new book.”–Doc Kirby, On The Bookshelf

“Bird enthusiasts of all ages will find this book full of educational fun.”–Skipping Stones

“Beautiful, educational coloring book.”–Katie L.Burke, American Scientist

“All the essays were well-written and provided lots of easy-to-understand information, which allows the reader to identify many different types of raptors. I also really enjoyed the further reading at the back of the book about the kestrel box. The instructions were clear-cut, and the activity was easy and fun to do.”–Hannah, age thirteen, Kids’ BookBuzz

Orders Here! Or you may order on Amazon. Peek Inside
Read more about the author and the illustrator.
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Listen for us the first Saturday of the month at
12:00 Noon for five minutes of "raptorous"
delight with the BirdTalk Guys,
Scott & David Menough. Click here!
At long last, our friends at Jabebo have given raptorphiles what we want: the most ubiquitous hawk working with humans around the world! The new Harris' hawk design took a bit longer than expected; getting the dark eyes to stand out against dark plumage turned out to be harder than Anne or Kevin expected, but we're thrilled with the results! Get yours here!
Driving For Wildlife
Help us put another 1,000 eagles on the streets of our great state. Qualified members of REF are entitled to display them on their cars. Put Colorado's first and best environmental plates on YOUR vehicle!
One of our members sent us this picture of his Cobra with our license plates. Anyone else out there with a classic car wearing our eagle? Send us your image!
Special thanks to The Kroenke Group & THF Realty for extending our lease and keeping the fee at zero dollars though 2023! Support like this ensures we will make it through these challenging times.

Thanks to our past and future partners, THF Prairie Center Development, L.L.C., THF Prairie Center Investors, L.L.C. and the City of Brighton, for creating the best intersection in Colorado just a minute or two north of our headquarters!

As the new villages grow at Prairie Center, so do the streets with cool names! Check out some of the newest intersections as of October 2021.
We're looking for a gently-used, 20-25 foot RV (Class C) that would serve as a mobile office for traveling programs around Colorado and farther away. Or maybe you have an SUV or pickup truck you would like to donate? We can put it to good use! Please give our office a call if you have a vehicle you think we could use!
(303) 680-8500
Thank you!

in Case You Missed it!

Limited Edition Eagle Pin
An exclusive creation for us, this fine pewter pin has been hand painted to let everyone know what you think of America's living national symbol. Available in a very limited edition, while they last. This beautiful pin measures 1 1/8" by 1 1/2". Two clasps keep it firmly attached. $50 each includes shipping. Discounts for multiple purchases. Click here to order.

If you don't wish to use PayPal, then please click here.
Raptor Day at Denver Botanic Gardens
For the second year in a row, we partnered with the Denver Botanic Gardens on July 22nd for "Raptor Day". This immersive experience for all age groups featured five different raptor stations throughout the Freyer-Newman Center and Mitchell Hall, with eight different timed entry slots to accommodate busy family schedules.

Our female Eurasian or common kestrel greeted the public who entered from York Street, some of which were unaware of the day-long celebration of all things raptor, and immediately bought tickets to see the rest of our birds. In the library, docent Ann Stanz enthusiastically read both of our Fidget Books for children's story time...eight times! Fidget's Freedom and Fidget's Folly were a huge hit and the kids clapped at the end of each session and asked many questions about how young peregrine falcons, previously an endangered species, were reintroduced into the wild in the Rocky Mountains.

The Botanical Illustration Group met in a specially-designed classroom, and twelve students, some from as far away as Santa Fe, NM and Bozeman, MT, carefully applied their skills to a moving subject, namely, our 28 year-old male Harris' hawk. He was content to hang out with Director Kevin Corwin who also answered many questions regarding this species. Meanwhile, upstairs in the FNC Auditorium, a 15-minute film which Peter created, narrated by Anne, played on a continuous loop for thirteen showings throughout the day. This film, specially created for the DBG guests, provided an excellent introduction to nine different species of raptors which are easily seen within the Denver City limits, and on the edges of the metro area.

In Mitchell Hall, our bald eagle, great-horned owl and peregrine falcon enthralled the crowds and especially the many Day Camp kids who concluded a week-long session with raptors. Our eastern screech owl also made an appearance, first at the Botanical Illustration classroom, and then again in Mitchell Hall.

It was a fun and informative day, and we really enjoyed visiting with Botanic Garden guests. Indoors was definitely the way to go, given the nearly 100F degree temperatures outside in the actual gardens. We are very grateful to the DBG staff: Patricia, Sydney, Sarah, Billy, Pha, Allaina, Kati, Carina, Peter, Laura, Lena and Sandy.

And...huge thanks to the rest of our REF Team: Director Marie Bolster and our docents Jenni McAllister, Karen Ogle and
Beverly Rice.
EVAC Red, White, & Blue
On July 7th we made our monthly appearance at the Eagle View Adult Center (EVAC), our wonderful Brighton neighbors just five minutes north of us. Anne extended the Fourth of July celebrations with a program that featured the history of how and why the bald eagle became our national symbol, and its recovery from an endangered species to common year-round Colorado resident. It's always nice to occasionally trade in the REF green for red, white and blue!
A Request For Help
With colleagues and friends in Russia and Ukraine this tragedy is very difficult to understand. This is Putin's war, and the old Slavic tribal animosities never linger far below the surface when irrational fear and anger rule. These two charities are very active feeding and providing medical supplies for my Ukrainian brothers and sisters in their homeland and in those bordering countries that have taken in millions of Ukrainian refugees. If you can help, please do. Дуже дякую! (Thank you very much!)
~Peter Reshetniak, Founder
National War Memorial Creation Underway
We recently visited with sculptor Robert Eccelston to check out his Loveland studio for the Desert Shield-Desert Storm Memorial project to be installed on the National Mall in Washington DC. This exciting project was introduced to our readers in a previous issue of Raptor Chronicles. It was very helpful for Anne, Robert and myself to walk around the "maquette", or small version of the piece, and to examine his process of assembling the bodies of the birds. Our peregrine falcon accompanied us as well, enabling Robert to see the unique features of a falcon's face and wings up close. We continue to offer some constructive comments on the armatures seen below, as Robert creates both birds from the skeletons out to the finished models. This is the point where any major anatomical corrections are made. The final piece will show the two raptors, larger than life size, flying over a sand dune. The saker falcon is shown in the top photo and the bald eagle is directly below. The saker falcon is the national bird of Iraq. The bald eagle, of course, should need no introduction to this audience!

Next, a visit with our bald eagle when members of the Washington DC Commission of Fine Arts visit Robert's studio to see his progress on this historic international sculpture. ~Peter Reshetniak,Director of Special Projects
Summer Day Camp Programs
Special thanks to Barr Lake State Park Manager Michelle Seubert for working with us and the Foothills Park & Rec District to provide a spacious and cool space for our Raptor Roundup program for their camp students! The kids mostly live on the west side of the Denver Metro area, very close to the foothills. Getting them out to the short-grass prairie is an important part of their environmental education, and it's the best place to see ferruginous hawks!
Join the 52 Families Supporting Our Raptor Sanctuary
Help Us Reach 100 Supporting Families!
Have you signed up for the King Soopers Community Rewards Program yet? Do you have a Loyalty Card and digital account? Just visit https://www.kingsoopers.com/o/store-services/community-rewards , log in and enroll to have REF receive donated funds from King Soopers and Kroger! We'd love to increase the number of families supporting us...please share with your friends and family!

OUR COMMUNITY REWARDS NUMBER IS TF405. Simply log into your account, look for "Community Rewards" on the left hand side, and enter TF405. Our name will appear, and you can link your card to REF. You save on groceries, earn fuel points, and we'll receive a quarterly donation from King Soopers.
Automatic Monthly Donations: Thanks to everyone who has set up a monthly donation via PayPal. We have people from both coasts, a few states in the middle, and in Colorado contributing automatic monthly pledges...thank you!!
REF Staff: Anne Price, President & Curator; Peter Reshetniak, Founder & Director of Special Projects; Savannah Grout, Mews Manager
Docents & Volunteers: Elise Bales, Phil Carter, Kevin Corwin, Karen Gonzalez, Bernhard Hafner, Kim Kistler, Linda Julia, Jennifer McAllister, Anne Price, Jennifer Redmond, Peter Reshetniak, Beverly Rice, Mitch Skinner, Ann Stanz
Docents In Training: Kristy Bortz and Karen Ogle