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

As many of us undertake our own personal migrations today, small and large, to join with friends and family at a communal feeding ground, I feel obligated to reflect upon the last year's journey, both the up and the downs. I am very thankful that this has been the busiest November we've experienced since "The Before Times". There have definitely been some challenges this year, but mostly with weather and the inevitable aging of our birds, and a few of the humans as well (speaking from personal experience!).

We've already had a couple of snows here in Denver, bringing critical moisture to the earth and clearing the air. Skeins of ducks and geese are arriving, along with the gradual influx of bald eagles. I'm looking forward to returning to Beaver Creek for the Birds of Prey World Cup in a few weeks, and I hope many of you will mark your calendars and come see us in January at the International Sportsmen's Expo in Denver.

Most of all, I am profoundly thankful for all of our staff, docents, volunteers, members and supporters who make REF's work possible.~Anne Price, President
The Wings of Winter
The Best Raptor ID Class Report
After a three-year hiatus due to Covid, we were pleased to present the “Wings of Winter” raptor ID class at Barr Lake State Park on November 12, 2022. Forty attendees enjoyed three hours of slides and live raptors, featuring the species found in Colorado during the fall and winter months. Karen Metz, senior Volunteer Raptor Monitor at Castlewood Canyon State Park, carefully curated over 100 slides of Colorado raptors in various plumages, including juvenile, subadult, and various color morphs. These slides, combined with the appearance of nine of our live raptor ambassadors, gave the audiences a very thorough overview of the hawks, falcons and eagles flying around the Denver Metro area during the coldest months of the year.
Many thanks to our hard-working docents, Karen Metz and to Michelle Seubert and the staff and volunteers at Barr Lake State Park for the use of a great new space!
Girl Scouts, Leadership and Raptors of Course!
Girl Scouts attended a "Raptor Expo" learning about the importance of raptors in the ecosystem. They participated in hands-on activities at four educational stations including 1) habitat and threats, 2) adaptations of raptors, 3) owl pellet dissection and 4) the role of raptors in the food web. The event included a live raptor program featuring a falcon, owl, hawk, and eagle, further engaging the scouts and connecting them to the natural world. The scouts from Troop 64235 hosted, applying organizational and leadership skills. As a troop leader, Jennifer Redmond designed the event to educate the Colorado Girl Scout community while engaging scouts in environmental leadership as part of her master’s program through Miami University and in partnership with the Denver Zoo.
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!
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.
Support us by shopping at AmazonSmile 
Listen for us the first Saturday of the month at
12:00 Noon for five minutes of "raptorous"
delight with the BirdTalk Guys. Click here!
Broad-winged hawk earrings
Presenting the newest Jabebo raptor earrings! Kevin and Anne's latest collaboration is the broad-winged hawk, the smallest member of the Buteo genus in North America. Weighing as few as 10 ounces, these hardy hawks migrate all the way to South America each year, and are common in the eastern half of the US.
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!
Raptor Chronicles
Previous Issues Archived Here
in case you missed any issues, we currently have 42 issues dating back to January, 2020!

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 Champions Gather Again!
We're going back to our favorite winter playground once again: Beaver Creek Resort, for the Birds of Prey World Cup. Look for us on the mountain at the Red Tail Finish Stadium December 2-4th. Beaver Creek has already received over a foot of snow, and we're very excited to see all of our colleagues at the Vail Valley Foundation and the Talon Crew!
Jeff's Raptor Captures: The Wings of Winter
Jeff Wang strikes again! After the hot doldrums of summer, Jeff has taken his lens out east on Colorado's magnificent short-grass prairie to document the fall and winter movements of the hardy raptors who make this endangered ecosystem their home.

Above, perhaps the most colorful US raptor: a male American kestrel, demonstrating how these tiny, four-ounce falcons, survive the harsh Colorado winter...they switch from insects and reptiles to mammals, mostly mice.
The largest soaring hawk, or Buteo in the US is the ferruginous hawk, Buteo regalis. They truly are regal in appearance, with narrow, long wings, and a very large "gape". This word describes the opening of the mouth, and when closed, the edges of the mouth run to the bottom of the bird's eyes. This allows the ferruginous to open their mouths very widely and pant to cool themselves. It's a critical adaptation to prairie life where there may be little or no shade. The typical adult plumage is very light below, with rusty legs that form a 'V' against the bird's body in flight. But as you can see, there is also a less-common dark morph plumage, rendering the hawk a beautiful rusty-brown color. When perched, they can often be mistaken for golden eagles.
Speaking of eagles, the Colorado prairie is home to both US species of eagles, the golden and the bald. Golden eagles, Aquila chrysaetos are birds of vast, open dry lands, and are mammal hunters which typically nest on cliffs in the American West. Bald eagles, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, are members of the sea eagle genus, and prefer to be closer to open water. But in cold climates, that's optional during the winter; these versatile predators hunt everything from rabbits to prairie dogs to Canada geese in Colorado, and may go months without touching fish. Both species are about the same size, with males weighing (on average) 6-8 pounds, and females at 10-12 pounds. Though the color change is less-pronounced with golden eagles, both species require about four full years to reach their adult plumage.
"One of these is not like the other one...." Above we have two species of falcons and one hawk. Can you tell who's the odd man out, so to speak?

The top two raptors are both falcons: the tiny one of the left is a merlin, Falco columbarius and the top right bird is the prairie falcon, Falco mexicanus. Despite their large difference in size (6-8 ounces vs. 16-25 ounces), these falcons have a very similar appearance. The merlin visits Colorado during the fall and winter only, and breeds in Canada in provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan. Prairie falcons live in our state year-round, though being cliff nesters, they vanish to grasslands to raise their young during the spring and summer, and return to the edges (and sometimes the middle!) of suburban areas during the winter. Both species will hunt birds and mammals, with starlings being a favorite target.

The bird below the two falcons is a rough-legged hawk, Buteo lagopus. These cousins of the red-tailed hawk visit temperate latitudes during the fall and winter, and breed above the Arctic circle. "Roughies" are found in the western two-thirds of the US,
as well as the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and northern Asia. They are experts at hovering while hunting, and usually catch smaller prey such as voles and mice due to the small size of their feet.

Below, another "hawk" that fits in no typical category. This is the northern harrier, formerly known as the marsh hawk. Recently reclassified as a separate species from the hen harrier of Scotland, our American bird, Circus hudsonius, has long legs, long wings, and a long tail. Males (as in the photo below) are gray above, with black wing-tips that look as if they've been dipped in ink. Adult females are brown above with cream and brown streaked breasts, an adaptation to nesting on the ground in prairie and marsh grasses. Both sexes have light yellow eyes as adults, and hunt a variety of prey ranging from amphibians, reptiles and waterfowl to mammals and birds. Harriers have a slight facial disk (visible in the photo below) which aids them in gathering sound waves to hear faint movements of prey in the grass. They are often seen quartering back and forth at a low altitude, and then suddenly cartwheeling into the reeds or other cover to grab their dinners.

Thank you to Jeff Wang!
CPW Raptor Monitors Gather
On November 5th we were privileged to present a special program for the annual meeting of volunteer Raptor Monitors for Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW). These highly-trained citizen scientists serve in over half of Colorado's state parks, monitoring springtime breeding activity as well as winter migrants.

The emphasis this year was on eagles, and we spent a lot of time comparing and contrasting the natural history, anatomy, reproduction strategies and conservation issues of America's two eagle species, the bald and golden. For these monitors, getting a chance to view raptors up close, rather than at a respectful distance, is a real treat. Anne really enjoys speaking to, and with, an audience as educated and deeply-invested as these dedicated volunteers. Thank you to Jeff Thompson and Ariana DiCocco of the CPW Resource Stewardship Section for bringing us back once again!
Join the 56 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.
In addition to the USA, our Facebook followers are found in the following countries:
United Kingdom, Canada, Spain, Pakistan, Netherlands, Italy, Mexico, Australia 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: Phil Carter, Kevin Corwin, Karen Gonzalez, Kim Kistler, Linda Julia, Jennifer McAllister, Zachary Nastri, Peggy Plaus, Anne Price, Jennifer Redmond, Peter Reshetniak, Beverly Rice, Mitch Skinner and Ann Stanz
Docents in Training: Kristy Bortz and Karen Ogle