Raptor Chronicles
First Virtual Collaboration With CPW
Over the past two months we've been collaborating with officials at Colorado Parks & Wildlife to create special video presentations to be used at the annual (but this year, virtual) meeting of Volunteer Raptor Monitors. Usually we present a live program at CPW headquarters in conjunction with the annual event, but because of the pandemic a new approach was needed. Entitled "Uncommon Raptors of Colorado", we'll be posting these on our various media outlets. Each video also includes narration by Anne Price, REF President and Curator. You can view our short segments (about six minutes each) on the short-eared owl and gyrfalcon below.
Total Surprise: REF Receives Top Listing for Our Work!
We recently received this rather exciting email:
Greetings from Los Angeles. We're writing to let you know that Raptor Education Foundation has been included in our recently published video wiki "Important Groups Devoted To Birds," which you may reference here:

Many of our millions of monthly visitors will now be exposed to your work. Check out this video!

Some background: Founded in 2011, Ezvid Wiki was the world's first video wiki, and is now among the top 3,000 websites in the United States. Our YouTube channel has over 600,000 subscribers, with over 350 million views since founding.

We know the digital universe reaches far beyond our small feathered world, and when this notice arrived, we can’t say we weren't completely surprised. Thanks to the folks at Video Wiki for this recognition. To be included with The International Crane Foundation is truly an honor. ICF’s Co-Founder, Dr. George W. Archibald provided important back ground information for our first project in the then Soviet Union. After 41 years and in the midst of a pandemic world we will take any good news!
Marilyn Steven's Amazing Bald Eagles

'Tis the season for...bald eagles! They've started arriving in large numbers here in Colorado and if it's a good year, we'll see about 1500 eagles hanging out until March, or even later. They're also one of Marilyn Brewer Stevens' favorite subjects, but if they're under five years old, it seems no two look alike, even if they're the same age. So sit back and relax with a cup of holiday cheer and enjoy this quick ID lesson, with no test at the end. THANKS MARILYN!
Above, the eagle on the left is likely 2.5 years old, while the two on the right are "second-winter", i.e., 18 months old. Though they have differing amounts of yellow in the beak, and white on the wings, the highly-worn tail feathers on the middle bird, as well as the sun-bleached plumage, indicate that this bird's been around for more than nine months.
Above, this is likely a "first-year" eagle, meaning, it hatched about nine months ago in the spring of 2020. The primaries and secondaries are all the same length, and all uniform in length. There is a lot of white in the axillary, or "wing-pit" area, visible under that left wing. And the beak is very uniformly black, with a darker brown eye.
Here's are two shots of an 18-month old eagle. In the photo above, you can more easily see the difference between older, unmolted primary feathers at the very tip of the wing, and the almost-black, newer primaries grown in over the summer. Note the lighter-colored eye and the cere which is starting to show some yellow around the nasal opening, called the "nare". Below, check out the faded and LONGER secondaries on the bird's left wing. This clearly indicates that the bird has molted once, but not completely. The brown, longer feathers are what the eagle left the nest with, and you can see newer, darker and shinier inner primaries on that same left wing.
Lastly, the typical snow-white head, pale yellow eyes and a yellow beak and cere, along with the white tail, indicate that this is a fully mature adult, at least five years old.
THANK YOU! Van Rehab is Over The Top!
We were getting fairly close to the summit "Mount Transmission", when devoted member JIM REISERT jumped in and gave us the final push to the top! Jim and his wife Carol have been stalwart supporters for years and we are so grateful for their generous gift! THANK YOU to everyone who's contributed to our van's new transmission! Our first big road test, eight hours on the road to Southwestern Colorado, proved that the old gal can handle both mountain passes covered in snow and the dry desert air. We just can't say enough about Paul and Becky over at Dave's Auto . We wouldn't be cruising along with them!
Thanks to the following people who have contributed $3505.00, taking us over the top!
Angel Anichin, Susan Anstine, Martha Barnhill, Keven Bateman, Cheri Bossio, Sharon Carabetta, David Carr, Deborah Carstensen, Jeffrey Carter, Peggy Chan, Kathleen Cottingham, Louise Crosby, Christine Cunneen, Russell Dymond, Judith Ferrell, John Graves, Kim Herron, Janice Kolk, Kimi Kondo, Maureen Kuiper, Kenneth Layman, Josette Mastra, Sharon Minzer, Scott & Deborah Nicholson, Steven Polsky, Jim Reisert, Miriam Reed, Terrie Sajbel, Jeffrey Snyder, Bernd Sokolowski, Carol Stuart, Scott Van Vleet, John Walker, Millie and Richard Young
Message from our Founder
Raptor Education Foundation: 2021

The past year has challenged everyone's sanity on many fronts. The pandemic shuttered the normal activities of commerce across the globe. Business revenues and personal incomes have crashed for most of us. Nobody's been exempted from the biological mission of a tiny organism that cares nothing for politics. Getting reliable and trustworthy information about COVID has revealed the chaos in our information sources. Trust in government institutions and many private enterprises has vanished. We won't know for several months into 2021 if the vaccines will prove effective and for how long. The world's complex supply chains which facilitate our global economy have made their limits obvious. No solutions present themselves, just more trade-offs, which is an overarching reality most do not want to face.

We've survived 2020 despite all of our normal revenue streams like school programs, large public events, educational seminars, and our consulting services having essentially dried up. We are still here because of an extremely dedicated corps of members and volunteers. The names you see credited for supporting our van's repair are testimony to part of that group of people. We also have a few members wishing anonymity who have donated significant dollars to keep operations going, and one of our Directors has provided a very generous credit line to ensure sufficient funds are available to keep everything operational through 2021. THF Realty and the Kroenke Group have made a very generous contribution through 2023 by waiving all of our lease payments. We will never be able to express our gratitude enough for this group of people! We wouldn't be here at all, were it not for what ALL of these folks have contributed, regardless of the level.

However, the reality and persistence of our deadly microscopic foe will not vanish when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. The schools may not reopen for our programs, and some public events which help us raise thousands of dollars are already closed far into 2021. It's anybody's guess as to when audiences of any consequential size might be allowed again. Personal finances may shrink even further and all of you can project your own outcomes without much imagination being required.

We, like all charities, are professional beggars. I've watched the frequency of newsletters and solicitations of one sort or another increase dramatically via snail mail, and email. One of our Directors reports that some of the major environmental groups have been sending email solicitations almost every hour during the past week. We won't do that. Raptor Chronicles comes out one to two times per month. We have our usual stuff for sale, and when an urgent need has arisen, like our van, we tell you. At this year's transition into the next year's calendar, I know you are all aware that we need your support. We cannot predict what 2021 will bring...it just doesn't look very optimistic. Please do what you can with the dedicated button below, send us a check or call our office. Our raptor sanctuary relies on your generosity to keep everything alive and well. Thank you so much for supporting us during these most difficult of times for everyone~Peter Reshetniak, Founder

Raptor Education Foundation, PO Box 200400, Denver, CO 80220 PHONE: 303-680-8500
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!
This poster is available for a limited time. Printed on heavy poster board, 11.5" x 20" Special offer details here.
One Left!
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Help Our Book Take Flight: Order Today!

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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!
The image of America's living national symbol on the right appears to capture the big bird not quite sure of where to take the next step. This mirrors the dilemma all of us face during these viral times. Experts and layman alike have their opinions and beliefs, but none of them has any certitude. The scientific method still has months and years to go before approaching the empirical evidence that can be independently replicated is available in the real world.

The eagle has an advantage humans don't. If the ground below it begins to crack, threatening its stability, it simply raises its wings and lifts off to safety. Humans are gravity-bound and have no such luck. We live and die with where we choose to put our next step. If our priorities are confused, Mother Nature clears things up quickly. Advantage goes to those who can adapt.
Photo credit: Ernie Serediak of Kelowna, B.C and thanks to
Betty Frost of Seattle for the tip!
Walking On Thin Ice?
Join the 31 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 Winter Raptor Delights
Above, Jeff captured this beautiful adult female northern harrier. Formerly known as the marsh hawk, these birds are at home in treeless, open spaces like prairies and cropland. They catch a variety of amphibians, reptiles, birds and small mammals.
We have a treat for you in this edition: two different color morphs of ferruginous hawk! The bird above is a dark morph hawk, with the field mark of fully-feathered tarsi. From a distance, sometimes dark-morph "ferrugies" can be confused for golden eagles.

Below, one of the most striking falcons seen here in Colorado: the adult male prairie-race merlin. The ancient medieval nickname for the male is the "jack", and this handsome little guy sat nicely for Jeff before taking wing. Note the bands on the tail, and the lack of a distinct malar mark, which help distinguish merlins from the smallest falcon in North America, the American kestrel.
The golden eagle below is fortunate to be airborne! Why? Check out the huge bulge beneath the bird's throat...this is called the "crop", which is the sack for the temporary storage of food. The eagle has just finished eating a very large meal and the crop helps balance out the raptor for flight.
No professional courtesy here! The bald eagle was apparently minding its own business, when out of nowhere, this "typical" or light-morph ferruginous hawk decided it didn't like the competition. Since bald eagles regularly steal food from nearly every other diurnal raptor, this hawk attempted to eliminate a potential problem before it even started hunting! Thank you Jeff!
Nesting Peregrine Down Under
The live camera stream has ended for the season. We hope you have enjoyed watching spring unfold down under!
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