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

Season's Greetings, Everyone!
I hope you've been able to spend some time with those whom you love and cherish this holiday season. It's been a very busy month for us in Brighton, between programs, the Birds of Prey Alpine Ski Championships, and the arrival of our new red-tailed hawk ambassador from Alabama.

Now we're gearing up for the largest public show of the year: the International Sportsmen's Exposition in Denver, January 11-14, 2024 at the Colorado Convention Center. The show is being held in the "traditional" halls of E and F, in the Colorado Parks & Wildlife Outdoor Pavilion, not far from the Combo Casting Pond. We hope many of our Colorado members will drop by to say hi and visit our raptors in person.

I am especially grateful to YOU, our members and supporters, who have contributed so generously this year, particularly in the last few weeks. Every little bit helps us care for our raptors (and we've received three new family members in the last four months). Facility upgrades, veterinary exams, and a few extra pounds of food each month are all part of the work involved when acquiring a new raptor.

Meanwhile, this big lady seemed to think she should be helping pull the sleigh a few days ago.
Don't forget to laugh a bit in 2024!~Anne Price, President

Reporting From Mexico
Birding in Mexico is not a difficult proposition, especially outside of the large metropolitan areas. Not only have the northern migrants come down to winter in a warmer climate, local endemic species also add wonderful flavors to the visual feast. In the order that they appear in this video, you'll see the following: gray hawk, northern caracara, white-tailed kite, common black hawk, a mottled owl, and the short-tailed hawk. The owl was seen at Rancho Primavera, directly above Casa Adobe, while the rest were seen no more than an hour's drive from the ranch. It's an excellent example of a defunct cattle ranch being turned into a birding sanctuary, and a superb location to cultivate "slow birding." The ranch is located in Cabo Corrientes County, just five minutes from the little town of El Tuito. These were not the only raptors seen, just the ones that lent themselves to being filmed.
Yep, there are other birds too!
While REF is focused on raptors exclusively, it's impossible to neglect the numerous feathered gems that inhabit raptor habitats and are occasionally part of raptor diets as well. In order of appearance you'll see the following: streak-backed oriole, golden-cheeked woodpecker, orchard oriole, cinnamon-bellied seed eater, orange-fronted parakeets, orange-breasted bunting, and a stunning green iguana (species unidentified).
A Christmas Owl Story
For the twelve days before Christmas, REF Directors Peter and Marie, heard this beautiful little owl calling early morning and early evening. However, they hadn't seen it, even once. On Christmas Eve morning all that changed. As first light crept in from the east, it was still pretty dark when Marie heard two of these owls calling back and forth around Casa Adobe where they were staying. Marie found them near the front entrance of Adobe, but could only catch momentary glimpses in very poor light. Then, a third owl began to call, but none of them were visible for more than just a fleeting moment....then they vanished.
As the sun rose over the forest ridges, the temperatures warmed and the tree tops were in brilliant morning sun. Peter was back inside the house editing videos when Marie came in and told him to grab his gear and follow her. There, up in the bare branches, perched a tiny, rust-colored ball of fluff. He stayed there for an hour as Peter drained several batteries recording everything that happened. This is the first of more videos to come. If you love owls, stay tuned to our media posts and tell your friends!
Slow Birding
Slow birding has its rewards! Staying in one place for just a few hours, while your bird guide takes you to a variety of spots and uses recorded calls to chum in dozens of species, works up to a point; if you're lucky, you'll capture a moment via camera or your own memory. However, if you are able to stay in one location for a week or longer, then you just might have the good fortune to meet the two raptors captured in this short video.

Neither one of them really respond to recorded calls or songs predictably. Using recorded calls also has some negative aspects associated with it, although the research is not conclusive. The common black hawk is easier to find if you know its haunts, but like many raptors, it is leery of humans stopping to gawk. This youngster perched undisturbed for quite awhile at the river entrance to Rancho Primavera. The ghostly presence in this video was heard morning and evening, almost like clockwork, however, after five years of searching during December visits, it was seen in fleeting moments up close, and only filmed once at a very long distance. This time was different!

The collared forest falcon appeared suddenly in front of the lucky birder's picture window. Marie spotted the apparition first. Peter had no time to do anything but get the camera and tripod set up and start recording through the glass, hoping the focus wouldn't be softened too much by the dirty window. He got lucky, but not for long as the very secretive falcon flew off within eight seconds. Peter has edited the video to show it a little longer than that, but there is no mistaking the ghost that was just fifty feet away. The videos above are all testimony to the benefits of slow birding, especially the last two!
Lots of Other Ways to Help!
A Special Anniversary Offer on All Three of Our Books!
Celebrate our 44th anniversary by purchasing our
three books at this special price!
Our Online Store is Open!
A new look...click on the image below.
Help Our Book Fly Higher:
Order Today!
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.
New Snail Kite Earrings
The newest Jabebo earrings are here! Jabebo received requests for this species from several nature centers in Florida, and by coincidence, our photographer friend Jeff Wang spent a few days chasing two species of kites, including the fascinating snail kite. The two designs are taken directly from Jeff's photos with very little editing; the male is on the left and the female, carrying a freshly-caught snail, is on the right.

Feeding almost exclusively on apple snails, this unusual raptor frequently practices ambisexual mate desertion, a reproductive strategy designed to maximize the number of young that survive to fledgling. Thank you, Jeff and Kevin Abbott, founder of Jabebo!
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 still 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!
Raptor Chronicles
Previous Issues Archived Here
in case you missed any issues, we currently have issues dating back to January 2020!

Raptor Bulletin Board
This January at the International Sportsmen's Expo at the Colorado Convention Center.

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.
Birds of Prey Races Scrubbed
For the first time in the twenty-six year history of the Birds of Prey FIS Ski World Cup in Beaver Creek, Mother Nature had the upper hand and not a single race could be run over the course of the three-day event. A combination of wind, snow and fog mixed and conspired to make conditions unsafe for the elite athletes who ski between 60 and 70 miles per hour, with top speeds in the range of 75-95 mph!

Everyone was disappointed of course, especially after months of hard work by the Talon Crew and hundreds of staff and volunteers at the Vail Valley Foundation, Beaver Creek Resort, and many other local and international organizations. But we still made the best of it, connecting with our Eagle County members and taking tons of photos at the VIP center...at least until the gusts of wind went over 30mph on Saturday.

Our "Eagle Security Team" had several folks that we worked with last year, and as they say, practice makes perfect. Thanks to Rebecca and crew for taking such good care of us and keeping us smiling under some very challenging conditions!
Join the 60 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.
Osage Nation Wins 12 Year Battle Against Wind Behemoth
Robert Bryce, one of the best reporters on the reality of industrial wind's dreadful march across landscapes, wildlife, wild lands, and cultures, describes the outcome of a twelve-year battle recently won by the Osage Indians. When you read Robert's report you will be shocked by the levels of corruption Big Wind goes to when they harvest tax credits and produce minimal energy in return. 84 wind turbines will have to be removed from Osage lands a Federal judge rules. Eagles win, the environment wins, and we win! Read the whole story here.
New Red-Tailed Hawk Ambassador Arrives!
On December 13th, we welcomed a new female red-tailed hawk from the Auburn University Raptor Center in Alabama. This young bird was admitted in September 2022 as a juvenile, with a combination of injuries consistent with being attacked by a larger animal, such as a racoon or perhaps a dog. She was missing several secondary flight feathers (the ones attached to the forearm) on her left wing, the tip of the middle toe on her left foot, and also had a significant soft tissue wound on her right leg at the heel joint.

The Auburn staff hoped that her missing secondary feathers would grow in over the course of summer 2023, but unfortunately, only two feathers molted in and were rotated 180 degrees in the wrong direction. This is consistent with follicle damage from the trauma of the feathers being torn out in 2022. Although she can fly, she appears to have a few subtle neurological deficits in addition to the missing wing surface area, so she was determined to be non-releasable. She was briefly trained to stand on the glove and fly to the fist over the last year as well, so thanks to the caring work by Auburn, this colorful hawk will be ready to start living at our mews very soon, and next, doing outreach programs. Thank you to Stephanie, Bryant and the entire AURC staff!
In addition to America, our Facebook followers are found in the following countries:
United Kingdom, Canada, Spain, Pakistan, Netherlands, Norway, Italy, Mexico, Ukraine, Russia, New Zealand,
Australia, Brazil, Argentina, and France!
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: Jean Anhalt, Kristy Bortz, Kevin Corwin, Karen Gonzalez, Kim Kistler, Linda Julia, Jennifer McAllister, Denis Murray, Karen Ogle, Peggy Plaus, Anne Price, Jennifer Redmond, Peter Reshetniak, Beverly Rice, Mitch Skinner and Ann Stanz
Docents in Training: Clarissa Cigrand, Robert Mitchell, and Mila Ringo