Raptor Chronicles
By Colorado's Oldest Raptor Sanctuary
President's Message
Happy New Year Everyone!

Winter is in full swing here in Colorado, with temperatures over the MLK weekend that froze a brand-new lock, and sounded the death knell in our outdoor water pump which keeps our 1000 liter water storage cube filled. How cold was it? Around -15F, without taking wind chill into account. We've had this kind of cold before, but only for a few hours, maybe overnight. This time, the temps lingered for over three days and our governor declared a state of emergency. We brought three of our more vulnerable birds into our heated barn and increased daily food for everyone. Once again, our hard-working volunteer staff braved the frigid temps to keep all our raptors safe and well-fed, while others attended the International Sportsmen's Expo downtown. Every morning brought a challenge, from vehicles that refused to start, to our own hands that couldn't function in the extreme cold.

I find in times like these that what warms me the most, is the company and companionship of like-minded people who are literally standing next to you, sharing not only the hard work, but the success and the good times as well. Right after the Sports Expo, I went to Bishop, California, near the Nevada border for a falconry meet. I met up with friends from Arizona, Wyoming and Montana, in addition to reconnecting with some California folks that I hadn't seen in many years (and DECADES!). Just being around other falconers, educators and raptorphiles fills me up and settles my soul. We saw some spectacular flights on chilly mornings, and the snow-capped eastern Sierra Nevada range on the west side of town made me feel right at home. Surrounding yourself with people who share your passion can be rejuvenating, for certain!

As I've often said, "raptors bring people together". The audiences we connect with at our programs sometimes turn into long-term friends; shoulders to lean on, folks to share a drink and a laugh with. One such person was Millie Young, whom we lost earlier this month. She and her husband Richard were members of the Eagle Brigade, set up to monitor a bald eagle nest originally located at 120th Ave and E-470. Please be sure to read our tribute to Millie below...she will be greatly missed.

Right as the cold hit, I saw three subadult bald eagles in just twenty seconds of freeway driving near our mews. Bald eagles are EVERYWHERE on Colorado's Front Range right now, filling my heart with gratitude and joy. We hope to see many of our local members celebrating this special time of year at the Barr Lake Bald Eagle Festival on February 3rd!~Anne Price, President
Jeff Wang's Northern Harriers
The norther harrier, Circus hudsonius, is a very common winter raptor on Colorado's eastern plains. Formerly known as the "marsh hawk", this is a bird of open spaces, estuaries and the prairies. They feed on everything from crayfish to small ducks, and also have plumage dimorphism in addition to the usual size differences between male and female raptors.

A first-year bird, likely a female, is featured above. A slight facial disk is visible, ringing the face to assist the harrier in detecting ground prey. Most also have a well-developed facial disk, with the most nocturnal owls having the most robust feather structures.
The two photos of the male harrier above are pretty cool because Jeff has captured the hawk actually sitting still! You can easily see the long, skinny legs which are helpful for a ground nesting bird. The long wings and long tail are also visible; the wings make the bird very light and buoyant, while the tail works like a rudder and enables quick, sudden turns while hunting.

Below, you can see the maneuverability and quick movements of the harrier. They tend to quarter back and forth, sometimes only three feet above the ground, in order to hear their prey as well as see it. Although they appear larger, males like this one only weigh 10-14 ounces.
Love is in the air, just in time for Valentine's Day! The golden eagles of Wildcat Mountain are back at the nest...stay tuned for some "eagle love" next month!
International Sportsmen's Expo Review
This year's appearance at the International Sportsmen's Exposition was marked by some unusual events, including sub-zero temperatures throughout the weekend outside, and a wonderfully large booth for us inside! We're very grateful to the folks that braved the intense cold to venture out of their homes and visit us, and of course, to our wonderful docents for working so hard.

Thank you to John Kirk and all the folks at ISE for such great digs. We also owe a huge shout-out to our partners at Colorado Parks & Wildlife. Not only are we their guests in the Colorado Outdoor Pavilion each year, but this year, some hard-working young men stayed late, and sent us home with over 350 trout for our two bald eagles! Fresh fish is hard to come by in land-locked Colorado (probably because skilled anglers tend to eat our many yummy varieties of trout), so we truly appreciate the break in our eagle food budget. Thank you to Debbie Lininger for "hooking" us up!
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
Just in case you've missed any issues, we currently have issues dating back to January 2020.

REF Event Bulletin Board
Presentation at the Barr Lake Bald Eagle Festival
Saturday, Feb 3rd, 10AM at the Nature 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.
Commerce City Bald Eagles Back at the Nest, and
Remembering Millie Young
Back when this pair of eagles had a nest located at 120th Ave and E-470, Millie and Richard Young came into our lives as part of the volunteer Eagle Brigade. The brigade was a group of people who helped REF monitor the bald eagle nest that had been constructed on top of a former red-tailed hawk nest near the exit ramp from E-470 to 120th Ave. Seeing how dangerous fledging would be for one or more clumsy young eagles, the Eagle Brigade grew into a sizeable presence for several years until the nest collapsed and the eagle pair moved to another location. The brigade followed the pair to that site and continued their monitoring activities until another nest collapse occurred. Each location had its successes and failures, and during each successive nesting cycle, I cannot remember a time when Richard and Millie weren't participating as a couple. Richard and Millie came to our Open House events and sent supporting words and contributions, despite the brigade no longer being active. They were always together, so it came as a great shock when Anne informed me that Richard had sent her a note of Millie’s passing after a struggle with ovarian cancer on January 6th, 2024.

The pair of eagles that started the whole brigade moved once again, and not far from their second location on an irrigation canal. Last year they successfully fledged two eaglets which we've chronicled on our YouTube channel. This year they're back again, and I have dedicated this video to Millie and her devotion to the eagles, as well as her love of other wild creatures, especially hummingbirds. Millie’s love of those little avian jewels was paramount, and Richard has asked that contributions be sent to Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation in Millie’s name.

We'll continue monitoring this nest in Commerce City, and with each video we publish, Millie and Richard will be woven into the tapestry of life that weaves our lives together with eagles, and those of us that hold them dear to our hearts.~Peter and Anne
A Dark Web Leader Adopts our Great Horned Owl
Extending its support of our great-horned owl into a second year, the world's leading dark web data sleuth, DarkOwl, is continuing their support of our mission. This Denver company with an international reach approached us last year and adopted our nine year old male great-horned owl, who is originally from Michigan.

The marvelous DarkOwl GIF was created by new REF Volunteer, Megan Considine. Megan is helping REF with some specialized graphic arts creations. Megan used REF's Bubo virginianus in creating this GIF. Thank you to Megan and DarkOwl!
Join the 61 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.
French Judge Dismantles Wind Farms for Killing Golden Eagles
The Climate Industrial Complex is losing more and more to the onslaught of reality as another colony of wind turbines is forced to be removed because they are killing golden eagles among other wildlife species. The industrial colonization of countryside/seaside locations all over the world with massive installations of wind turbines, solar panels, access roads, new transmission lines; with the acceleration and expansion of mining for minerals to meet arbitrary net zero goals is increasing the damage to the environment in ways the "green" cabal never thought of. Or maybe they just don't care? Sadly wildlife and wild spaces are paying the price at the altar of the global warming cult.~Peter Reshetniak, Founder & Director of Special Projects
A Very Rare Harlan's Hawk
As most of our loyal readers know, we love it when folks send us photos of raptors they've observed in the wild. The "common" red-tailed hawk is anything but ordinary, and given their very wide range across the US, and the myriad of races, we're bound to see some unusual plumages here in Colorado.

Last October, we featured some wonderful photos of a partially leucistic red-tail that Anne and the photographer spotted twice in the Platteville/Hudson area, north of REF's facility. This time, lightning seems to have struck not once, but twice: the hawk above and below, courtesy of Tom Kajiwara, is a partially leucistic light morph Harlan's red-tailed hawk! (we'll let that sink in for a moment...)

Tom is a raptor monitor at Barr Lake State Park, and spotted this unusual hawk in recent weeks. Our ace raptor ID partner Karen Metz managed to see it as well, and after many back-and-forth emails, as well as a better view of the underside, she and Anne are reasonably-confident of the ID. Light morph Harlan's hawks can be tricky to identify, especially because they tend to have more red in their tails than any other Harlan's morph. For more spectacular beauty and confusion, check this excellent article from the archives of the American Birding Association. Thank you, Tom!
Eagle View Meets Our New Golden Eagle
On January 24th at Eagle View Adult Center in Brighton, our new female golden eagle made her much-anticipated debut. Just a five-minute drive to the north, this wonderful and engaging community resource features Anne once per month in the "Feathered Friends" program. Now that the holidays are over, the time was right, and the audience was perfect for a longer program with our female golden eagle. We had nearly double the normal audience for our big girl, and once again, the staff and guests at EVAC were the perfect "guinea pigs" for a raptor learning the education ropes.

You'll see in part of the video that our eagle's mouth is open, to help her cool off. She didn't "bate" or jump off of Anne's arm even once, but the education room is always a bit on the warm side, especially to a raptor that lives outside (Anne is always cold however and loves it!). Thank you to Madison, Calvin and Sue for all the arrangements!
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: Kristy Bortz, Megan Considine, 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