Raptor Chronicles
Message From the President

Happy New Year everyone! Unfortunately, things don't seem to be magically better on many fronts, just because the calendar now says 2021. In 2020 we went from becoming battle-ready overnight, to realizing we were going to be fighting a long war...it was the old "sprint vs. marathon" mentality. I know I've swung wildly at times between making decisions very carefully, to moving quickly, going on gut instinct, and not overthinking things.

Some things have worked, and others haven't. We believe the important thing is to use our resources wisely, communicate frequently and clearly, and keep on moving forward, one step at a time. Sometimes the steps are tiny, but other times they are huge. And behind ALL the steps, have been our docents and members like you. THANK YOU AGAIN for your generosity last year, and stay tuned for more good news...bald eagles, anyone?
~Anne Price, President
For Our Eagle Fans
For our eagle fans, we are pleased to report that the Commerce City eagles which we've been monitoring for many years are back at their nest, as you can see in the opening segment of this video. For the new visitors to this site, the sad story is that this nest has not seen a successful hatch for three years. We think the male is infertile, but since there is no way to be absolutely certain if this is the same pair from previous years, we're going to continue monitoring the nest during the 2021 season. The other two eagles were seen within a few minutes from this nest off of Highway 2, which is on the west side of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. Peter actually saw six eagles, but could not safely stop to record the other pair. If you're a fan of bald eagles, make sure you take a drive along Hwy 2, especially during "peak" time, which is now through the end of March.
REF's Russian Relations: War in the Air
Way back in 2004 when we were in Moscow working on the first book in the Fidget series, I met a hard-working falconer by the name of Viktor Feodorov. He spoke about as much English as I spoke Russian, but we shared tea and cookies on a damp October morning and he took us around the historic royal estate of Kolomenskoye where he and his staff did falconry demonstrations for tourists as well locals. Fast-forward ten years to December 2014, and Viktor and I reconnected at the International Festival of Falconry in Abu Dhabi. Neither of us knew the other would be there, and it was a very fun reunion. We both managed to convey to each other our agreement that even though it was December, it was still hot, AND, we would stay in touch this time.
Over the next few years, Viktor asked me for photos of my falconry with merlins, and was particularly interested in the fact that I hunted at dairies and feedlots for starlings. The common starling, Sturnus vulgaris is an introduced and now invasive species here in the United States and causes millions of dollars of damage and agricultural losses each year. However in Europe, they are actually decreasing in number and in many areas they are being monitored as an important native songbird whose range is declining. Historically, merlins were flown at the Eurasian skylark, Alauda arvensis, and not much else. Merlins are the smallest falcon in Europe as their common or Eurasian kestrel is much bigger than ours. The merlin falconers I know over there either still fly them on skylarks during a very short and carefully-controlled season, or occasionally on the common snipe, Gallinago gallinago. They are definitely not flown in cattle operations where large concentrations of starlings gather to feed on the grain which is fed to the livestock.
I knew Viktor was working on a book on the "practical" use of raptors, specifically designed for government officials. He told me that it was going to be a manual of sorts, about how raptors were being used around the world to benefit humans. Examples include using falcons to clear birds from airfields, the use of Harris' hawks to keep Wimbeldon Stadium free of pigeons, and the Dutch and French training bald and golden eagles to take down drones. This book was very specifically NOT going to be about traditional falconry. I have to admit however, I was really surprised to see this page included with pages about the damage that starlings cause. The title of the book translates to "War in the Air" and the cover was magnificently illustrated by our friend Vadim Gorbatov (who introduced us back in 2004). Vadim also illustrated our two Fidget books. I'm still slowly translating the text (with help from Peter), but this is further proof to me that politics and international relations aside, the love and obsession with raptors is truly universal!
Birds Hatch Your Happiness!
"A pair of new studies show how birds improve our well being, adding to a growing body of evidence that birds are an antidote to our despair." At REF we have known this for 41 years, now more studies support our premise. This great article from Audubon is well worth reading. Thanks to Seattle Director Marie Bolster for the tip!
Lots of Other Ways to Help!
A Special Anniversary Offer on All Three of Our Books!
Celebrate our 41st anniversary by purchasing our
three books at this special price!
Our Online Store is Open Again!
A New Look...click on the image below
Help Our Book Take Flight: Order Today!

Orders Here! Or you may order on Amazon. Peek Inside
Read more about the author and the illustrator.
Support us by shopping at AmazonSmile 
Look 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!
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!
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!
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!
A New Print for the New Year
This beautiful five-year study of our female bald eagle was photographed and composited by Marilyn Stevens. It measures 16″ x 20″ and is printed on fine photo paper with a “lustre” finish. The print will fit many ready-made frames. To our knowledge this is the only available photographic sequence of an immature bald eagle showing off the plumage changes as she matures. Remember, both male and female look identical except for their size; the male is about 30% smaller. Our foil seal is attached to the bottom of each print. (Not shown in the image above). This is a limited offer and the price includes shipping anywhere in the continental U.S.A.

This limited offer is only available here. $40 for one print or $60 for two
Join the 33 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.
Jeff Wang's Amazing Raptor Captures
Jeff's first photos of 2021 depict some interesting, but typical mid-winter raptor "stuff". The first photo features an adult prairie falcon (we think it's a female based on the second photo) and an adult male northern harrier. Jeff spotted both flying and gave chase in his car. It's a bit hard to tell exactly what happened, but when Jeff started shooting, the prairie was on the ground, with the harrier coming in hot, as they say.

After a few moments, both raptors lifted off the ground and went their separate ways, neither with evidence of prey, such as blood or feathers on the toes/talons. In the second photo, you can see the dark brown axillary feathers under the wings of the prairie, which is one of their best field marks in flight. It's entirely possible that the prairie went after something on the ground, either a bird such as horned lark or a small mammal, but missed. The harrier, spotting a potential opportunity to rob the falcon of its meal before it had the food completely under control, gave chase, anticipating the outcome. Both flew away empty-handed, so to speak. Being a raptor in Colorado during the cold winter months isn't easy! THANKS JEFF!
Birding in Mexico
Birding in Mexico in December has lots of rewarding opportunities. This video was taken around El Tuito, which is an agricultural town with about 3,500 people located at about 2,000 feet above sea level. Home base was Rancho Primavera about three kilometers from El Tuito. The ranch has evolved from a cattle ranch into a bird sanctuary, and is noted for remarkable birding. For raptor enthusiasts, this video features the beautiful collared forest falcon as well as other species. We would hear its calls at dawn and dusk coming out of the dense forests around our residence, but finding it was going to be tough, as everyone warned us. One morning however, I got lucky and captured the falcon and its haunting calls on video. It was over 1,500 feet away, and I used maximum zoom (1,365mm) with a tripod.

The bat falcon was filmed right in El Tuito's town square with the little falcon watching the human activities below. Unfortunately no tripod was available, so this segment was hand held.
Some of our favorite birds of prey that aren't raptors are featured in this video recorded at Rancho Primavera, Mexico. Opening with the massive bare-throated tiger heron, this video illustrates some of the wonderfully adapted carnivorous water birds found at the ranch. One of the sections shows the immature little blue heron, followed by the mature little blue heron, and then by the great blue heron. The rest of the birds haven't been named so that viewers can practice a bit of their birding skills. All the videos shown were recorded within a 200-yard radius from the house where we were staying on the ranch.
Of course our mission is dedicated to raptors, but it's impossible to have a passion for eagles, hawks, falcons, owls and vultures without having an equal (almost) passion for the other avian species on our planet. With more than 10,000 species of birds you can find almost anywhere, grab a pair of binoculars and get out there!

This video captures some of the stunning birds and colors found at Rancho Primavera near El Tuito, Mexico. Birds and dragons go together...Enjoy! And remember from the story above, birds= happiness, so keep smiling!
~Peter Reshetniak, Founder & Director of Special Projects
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 monthly pledges automatically...thank you!!
REF Staff: Anne Price, President & Curator; Peter Reshetniak, Founder & Director of Special Projects; Savannah Grout, Mews Manager (PT)
Docents: Elise Bales, Morgan Brantmeyer, Kevin Corwin, Karen Gonzalez, Bernhard Hafner, Kim Kistler, Linda Julia, Jennifer McAllister, Anne Price, Jennifer Redmond, Peter Reshetniak, Beverly Rice, Mitch Skinner, Ann Stanz