Raptor Chronicles
Message from the President
Happy "Owloween"! October may have started out warm in Denver, but we've quickly gotten chilly and there are a couple of ski resorts already open. Our five owl ambassadors have been busy with programs this month, as folks anticipate the start of the holiday season and shorter days.

October is not only the month of pumpkins and falling leaves: it's also the peak of raptor migration around the country. This incredible annual rite brings us peregrines from the tundras of Alaska, merlins down the Atlantic coast, and the spectacular vision of thousands of broad-winged hawks circling in the air, as they prepare for their journey to South America.

After a long, hot summer, fall brings me back to life. It's not just the cooler temps and the pumpkin spice lattes (yes, I'm one of THOSE women!)...the farewell to Swainson's hawks, and the joy of seeing my first merlin, rough-legged hawk, and the massive invasion of bald eagles along with snow geese and sandhill cranes, are all deeply-reassuring.

In this issue, we hope you enjoy the far-flung and phenomenal photos of Jeff Wang, who undertook a migration himself in search of some of the most elusive and beautiful raptors in these United States. Grab a cup of something warm, your best toasty clothes, binoculars, and look to the skies!~Anne Price, President
Eagle Scout Tool Cabinet
At the end of August, Eagle Scout Candidate Luke Stinemetze (pictured right, with father Steve on the left) and his crew came to our mews to install a new, custom-designed tool cabinet! Luke's Eagle Scout project involved working with Anne and our maintenance guru Kevin Corwin to expand, improve and (attempt) to mouse-proof the old design. Rakes, shovels, ice-breakers, pool skimmers, scythes and a plethora of large tools which we use year-round are now easier to access. Our new cabinet also has a slanted roof and some good waterproofing to help fight off snow and rain.

Luke's scope of work included design, budgeting, fund-raising, and assembling the major components at home with his team of fellow Scouts and adult supervisors. We look forward to participating in Luke's Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony next year. Meanwhile, this impressive young man is finishing his senior year of high school, and looking to major in Biochemistry in college.
Thank you to the entire Stinemetze Family!
Open House Roundup
After two long years, we were finally able to hold our Fall Open House on September 25th. It was so gratifying to see our loyal supporters once again in person and meet new folks who became members during 2020. About one-third of our guests had never been to our facility before, and Mother Nature cooperated with lovely weather. Visitors had a chance to meet our new gray morph eastern screech owl who arrived in June, and our newest bird: an Arctic gyrfalcon. Though a senior citizen at 19 years, he’s very comfortable with people and was a big hit with the crowds. He’s already got a busy schedule of fall appearances ahead of him!
A BIG thank you to all who attended, and especially to The Kroenke Group and THF Realty!
Jeff Wang's Fantastic Raptor Pursuits
(a.k.a. Migration Madness!)
For over a year now, we've been featuring "Jeff Wang's Raptor Captures" in most editions of Raptor Chronicles. We thought it was about time to introduce you to the talent behind these photos: our good friend and generous supporter, Jeff Wang. He's a software engineer by "day", and an extremely-skilled raptor photographer when he's not tied to a keyboard.
From Jeff: "I've been a resident of Colorado for the last 15 years. I restarted my photography hobby on a whim a few years ago and eventually found that for me, bird photography was the perfect blend of challenging photography and the outdoors. As I started to focus on raptors, one major frustration I had was the difficulty in finding good information on raptors in Colorado. This issue was dramatically lessened after attending a Raptor Education Foundation hawk identification class in 2018 and since then getting plenty of raptor chasing and identifying information from Anne Price, Peter Reshetniak and Karen Metz. With the continued support of REF, I'm much more able to fully enjoy my endless pursuit of the perfect raptor picture! "
Jeff recently went on a bit of a migration himself, venturing to south Texas, and then to the great raptor migration viewing area at Cape May, New Jersey. This is a major flyway for the eastern anatum peregrine falcon; at the top you can see an adult bird perched on the cross member, and directly above, a migrating juvenile or "passage" falcon, displaying the characteristic brown and cream streaked plumage.
Those tiny dots above? Not starlings, nor swallows...they're broad-winged hawks in a massive "kettle", or a group of raptors circling in a thermal. Thermals are columns of warm, rising air which are like elevators for migrating birds, particularly raptors. Hawks such as the broad-winged conserve energy by gaining altitude on the thermals, and then setting their wings to glide long distances down to the next thermal. Kettles are also thought to be a means for raptors to signal to each other that departure is imminent, which means large groups can migrate together and find safety in numbers. This is especially crucial for first-year birds, such as the juvenile broad-winged hawk above, who have never made the migration before.
The two photos above are of a juvenile red-shouldered hawk, a species found almost everywhere but in the Great Basin/Rocky Mountains of the US. They have longer tails in proportion to their body size compared to other US buteos. These "woodland" buteos tend to eat a large percentage of birds, reptiles and amphibians, as well as small mammals.
Jeff was even sharp-eyed enough to capture this adult, partially-leucistic red-tailed hawk! The dark eyes of this hawk tell us that it's at least five years old, but so far, it doesn't have any white tail feathers. Some leucistic birds actually become more white as they age.
Ah...the ubiquitous Cooper's hawk. And like so many of the raptors Jeff observed and photographed, this bird is a juvenile as well. Note the long, curved tail, and yet-another combination of cream and brown streaks, spots and stripes. No wonder first-year raptor identification is confusing!
The photos above feature two magnificent raptors native to Texas. The hawk on the left is a white-tailed hawk, Geranoaetus albicaudatus. These stunning hawks have long legs and long wings; even though they resemble Swainson's hawks, they are not classified as buteos. Ranging into Brazil where they hunt giant earthworms, among other small animals, the only US state where they occur is Texas.

The right hand photo features two adult northern crested caracaras, Caracara cheriway. By far the most unusual members of the falcon family, their subfamily Caracarinae has six different species. The northern (also known as the northern "crested" caracara) is found in Texas and Florida. They are intelligent and bold raptors that scavenge like vultures and also hunt like hawks.
A little territorial talon-grappling in the fall is usually for show only. However, in the spring it is very serious business. There are so many breeding age bald eagles in portions of the East Coast that they are literally running out of places to nest. In some cases, territorial disputes have resulted in the death of the combatants.
Speaking of fighting over one's turf, this next series of photos are our favorites from Jeff's trip. He managed to capture a
sharp-shinned hawk chasing a peregrine falcon out of a tree! There is a lot going on here, not the least of which is the rare opportunity to compare two immature raptors of different orders, families and genera, side-by-side. Look at the rounded wing shape of the accipiter, vs. the long, pointed wings of the falcon. In the right hand photo, you can see the sharp-shinned hawk turning by rotating its tail 90 degrees into a vertical, vs. horizontal position. All flying birds use their tails to turn, but accipiters have perfected this into a high art, enabling high-speed, zig-zag moves through trees.

One of the most interesting aspects of this interaction is the fact that both birds are juveniles, and presumably on migration, and certainly not defending a breeding territory. Look at the peregrine closely; it also has a full crop (the bulge under the throat) which means it recently ate a meal.
Lastly, take another close look at the peregrine's right lower leg, above the foot. This part of the leg is called the "tarsus", and you'll see that this bird is wearing an aluminum band. We have no idea where the bird was banded, but it's always good to spot any bird species wearing a band, knowing that somewhere, some day, it may be recorded and reported!

Once again, THANK YOU Jeff!
Lots of Other Ways to Help!
A Special Anniversary Offer on All Three of Our Books!
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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

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Listen for us the first Saturday of the month at
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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!
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!
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. Just click to order.

If you don't wish to use PayPal, then click here.
Safety Supervisor
As we prepare for winter, and get out of summer mode, one of the things we do is take down the shades nets. We also batten down the hatches and check for anything else that might need tightening. Anne was on working on the south side of the pen, no where near where our female bald eagle was perched. Her attention to fastening zip-ties was interrupted as she watched the eagle casually walk up to the ladder and give her a hard stare. Apparently our female bald eagle thinks she needs supervision!
Only a Few Left!
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 “luster” 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, but 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.
Pick it up at our office for only $25!
Join the 47 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.
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
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