Raptor Chronicles
A Courageous Young Visitor
On January 20th, we were treated to a bit of a reunion and an inspirational visit by Laila Anderson. Laila is the granddaughter of Jim Lewis, formerly of THF Realty. Jim was the driving force behind our move from Aurora to Brighton in 2008 and has been a stalwart supporter of REF ever since.

Laila is in a courageous battle against hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, an extremely rare autoimmune disease that required a bone marrow transplant one year ago. In addition to being a huge inspiration to those battling life-threatening illness, Laila is also probably the #1 Superfan of the Stanley Cup-winning St. Louis Blues hockey team.

It was such a pleasure showing Laila our raptors, especially our female bald eagle. But meeting such an extraordinary young lady and hearing her story was even more inspiring. Bone marrow transplants save lives! Curator Anne Price has registered. Have you?

Read more about the extraordinary work of St. Louis Children's Hospital and Laila's story here.
Birding in Mexico
This past December REF President Peter Reshetniak and REF Director Marie Bolster spent ten days at a cattle ranch that has been converted into a conservation preserve located just a few miles from El Tuito, which is about one hour south of Puerta Vallarta in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. Two American women have bought the ranch, planted 5,000 trees and generally rehabbed the facility, which is now one of the best birding spots in the area. Rancho Primavera provides exceptional solitude and birding is very rewarding. Without much effort Peter and Marie recorded over 60 bird species. Unfortunately, what couldn't be shown in the video is a collared forest falcon that came in above them, but concealed itself in the high canopy. Before Peter could record it, the falcon vanished into the green shadows. For about a week, several CFF's could be heard early morning and evening calling back and forth, not far from Casa Adobe where the REF crew were staying. After leaving the ranch, about a week later, Alejandro Martinez took Marie and Peter on a search for an elusive diurnal owl, the Colima pygmy owl. This tennis ball-sized predator is difficult to spot under the best of circumstances, but Alejandro was able to call it in and Marie was able to spot it in the high jungle canopy. Peter's camera's tripod legs had loosened in the heat so capturing video on a shaky platform was tricky. These little owls are strong fliers and take big bugs, small birds and small rodents. If you are heading into this part of Mexico for some birding contact Alejandro . He knows the area's birds very well, his command of English is good, and you'll benefit from his knowledge and experience. Ask him about the military macaw nest box program he's leading and you just might get a special treat! Below the owl video is a short video of the peregrine falcon Peter has been monitoring in Puerta Vallarta for the past four years. It hunts the Old Town area of PV and was still there after Christmas, when it was spotted on one of its favorite high-tech hunting platforms.
A Special Anniversary Offer on all Three of Our Books!
Celebrate our 40th anniversary by purchasing our three books at this special price just in time for the holiday season: Just click
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Read more about the author and the illustrator
Special Limited Offer
This poster is available for a limited time. Printed on heavy poster board, 11.5" x 20" . Special offer details here.
In September, we celebrated three years since the arrival of our wonderful female bald eagle. She arrived as a timid, 18 month old sub-adult, and it's been a privilege, a lot of hard work, and a team effort that's resulted in the beautiful, confident and well-adjusted bird you see in the collage above. Thank you once again to Marilyn Stevens for continuing to take these stunning images of our "girl", now 4 ½ years old!
Finding Bald Eagles is Easy
This time of year, finding bald eagles in Colorado is pretty easy. Our population increase in the winter is due to migratory balds coming down from the north looking for more hospitable places to spend the winter. I commute past the west side of the National Wildlife Refuge at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, and this pair of eagles regularly perch on the same pole in the afternoon. I've seen them on six different occasions. They're near a prairie dog colony, but they're not hunting. They're just hanging out, watching traffic go by. I've seen three or four bald eagles, adults and juveniles along this route on a very regular basis. Bald eagles have been reported at both the north and south lakes in Washington Park again this year. Enjoy the opportunity for another month or so before this migrant population starts heading back to their home territories! ~Peter Reshetniak, President
20 Years Ago
We created Colorado's first environmental license plates back in 1999. Only qualified REF members are permitted to display these on their vehicles. Tell your friends and help us put another 1,000 eagles on the highways and byways of Colorado! Just $24.95 helps spread our message that Coloradoans Respect Wildlife.
Searching for the Perfect Holiday Gift?
John Graves' book sales of Broken Wing have already resulted in over $1,000 being donated to our mission. Your purchase of his book continues those gifts coming our way. Just click on the book cover, and help us spread the word about the deadly results of Conflict Energy. Thank you!
Raptor-themed gifts for raptor lovers
Gifts Cards Available!

We've had many requests for Gift Cards. Thanks to the folks at SquareUp we are now very happy to make gift cards available to everyone to give to friends, family, and total strangers! Lots of designs for raptorphiles. Currently our gift cards are only available in the electronic versions.
Wish List: We are looking for a gently-used, 25-foot RV that would serve as a mobile office for traveling programs around Colorado and further away. Or, maybe you have an SUV or pickup truck you would like to donate? We can put them to good use!
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!
Now your purchasing and selling on e-Bay can benefit Raptor Education Foundation by designating us as a beneficiary. Just click on this link , and thank you!
Another Solar Alternative Collapse
Solyndra’s  bankruptcy was an early warning about solar energy being a viable alternative for supplying energy to maintain civilization’s needs. Others followed, and now  the collapse  of one of the biggest centralized solar farms in the Nevada desert illustrates the failure of such government subsidized electron streams. Guess who’s on the hook for those federal subsidies? Where is any environmental benefit to be found in this disaster?

Our Stop Conflict Energy campaign was the first by any raptor organization in the U.S.A. Europeans are now waking up to the damage being done to eagles and other wildlife.

Who pays for the cleanup? As more and more of these alternative schemes fail, the cleanup costs are staggering. Guess who will pay?

Where is any environmental benefit to be found in this disaster?
Wolves Confirmed in Colorado
Without any government intercession, wolves have returned to Colorado. No public vote will be required to spend millions of dollars on something that happened organically. All we need now is to work out how ranchers and farmers recover losses due to wolf predation, a federally protected species.
Jeff Wang's Raptor Captures
Jeff recently spent a day out on eastern prairies of Colorado, where he was lucky enough to see some of typical winter residents. Above and below, golden eagles find plenty to eat on the plains, from prairie dogs to snakes, to jackrabbits. The top bird is a subadult; you can tell by the white at the base of the tail. The pair of eagles at the bottom are adults. In some regions, though not all, mated pairs remain together year-round.
And of course, the falcon who's named for this important ecosystem, and found only in western North America:
the prairie falcon, Falco mexicanus . About the same size as the peregrine falcon, these supremely-adaptable raptors will also catch ground mammals such as Wyoming ground squirrels and rabbits. Birds do make up
the bulk of their diet, and they nest on ledges on the edge of cliffs, buttes and bluffs. During the coldest winter months in the Denver Metro area, some prairie falcons even move into the city, spending the nights
 on buildings and other structures that offer more warmth and shelter from blizzards.
This is NOT a mini-golden eagle...it's a dark morph ferruginous hawk! The perched bird is showing off that
classic wide gape that ferruginous hawks are famous for. Jeff's upper photo, perfectly capturing the
moment of take-off, showcases the long legs and short toes that enable this largest of soaring hawks
to snatch prairie dogs as they dive down into their burrows. Ferruginous hawks are obligate prairie
inhabitants and their numbers are dwindling in some areas. They are one of the first
raptor species to benefit wherever short grass prairie preservation work occurs.
Winter is Here: Can you help?
This summer we replaced the failed sprinkler system to keep our birds cool in the hot months. We acquired a new peregrine falcon, and created an extra space in an existing enclosure with the same types of materials used for the snowy owl retrofit. We've expanded our electrical service to our outside circuits to improve winter and summer demands for power, and so far, our outdoor water storage cube is doing well in our freezing temps and FEET of snow. Our next projects include several perch replacements and a retrofit of the roof in our temperature-controlled screech owl enclosure in the barn. Gotta keep those little guys warm and dry!

We are still $1,900 short. Our goal is to raise $3,000 for these projects.
Can you help us?

Checks may be sent to REF, PO Box 200400, Denver, CO 80220. Please mark all contributions with
"Winter Maintenance Campaign"
Commerce City Eagle's New 2020 Video
On two separate days I've had the good fortune of finding the Commerce City bald eagles at their new nest site, which is just a short distance from the previous year's nest which has failed several times. During my recent visits on both days one of the eagles was enjoying a fine meal of rabbit. The first day, as you will see, the visitors are quite cheeky. One even grabs the big bird's tail. On the second day however, lunch is actually in the nest, and at the end you'll see where the magpies have gathered, patiently awaiting any scraps that might be left. Last year and in 2018, incubation started February 20th....stay tuned, and let's hope that this year with the new nest they achieve success!
Wish List : We are looking for a gently-used, 25-foot RV that would serve as a mobile office for traveling programs around Colorado and further away. Or, so you have an SUV or pickup truck you would like to donate? We can put them to good use!

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!!

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Docent & Volunteer Staff : Elise Bales, Morgan Brantmeyer, Kevin Corwin, Karen Gonzalez, Bernhard Hafner, Linda Julia, Kim Kistler, Jennifer McAllister, Anne Price, Jennifer Redmond, Peter Reshetniak, Beverly Rice, Mitch Skinner,Ann Stanz and Skye Taylor
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