American Bald Eagle Foundation
August 2020
Community Partnerships
The Takshanuk Watershed Council (TWC), a local conservation nonprofit, has teamed with Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL) employing teens in town to complete service projects. This group has been doing trail maintenance and other projects around the community with mentors who are guiding them through stepping into the workforce. This month, the TWC and SAIL group helped ABEF by painting our shed, moving gravel, and digging post holes for a chicken yard.

Both the shed and chicken yard were intended as projects for our 2020 internship, however the cancellation of our summer internship left them crowding the already busy staff schedules. With the help of the TWC and SAIL group, the shed painting and post digging was completed in two days and crossed another summer project off the staff’s list. Our sincere thanks to TWC, SAIL, and the hard-working teens caring for our community. Learn more about the Takshanuk Watershed Council at and SAIL at
Aviary Garden
Last year, summer interns Ali and Mya took an interest in starting a garden in the aviaries at the ABEF. In an open space in between eagles Vega and Arden, The Vega-table G-Arden was built. Ali was promoted to the staff after her internship and has continued to care for the garden this past summer.

Wild strawberries, zucchini, mint, and tomatoes are just a few of the plants that flourished in the aviary garden this year. This space has attracted wildlife as well. Pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and songbirds have visited to help the local vegetation grow. With care, this garden will be a welcoming sight for visitors as they enter the aviary in the future.
Husbandry Behaviors
Instead of being busy programming this summer, the ambassadors at the ABEF have been working on improving fundamental behaviors. This summer, trainers have been working on a variety of voluntary husbandry behaviors such as talon trimming.

Talons are made of keratin, the same material as our fingernails, and are continuously growing just like our nails. Without the abundance of rough surfaces and hunting opportunities that keep wild raptor talons trimmed, the birds on our team require periodic pedicures to keep talons from overgrowing. This has historically been done during medical exams which requires capturing and restraining birds. This summer, staff built a talon trim station so this process can be done in training, limiting stress and empowering the birds to be active participants in their health care. Now, when a bird steps on the station, their talons can be quickly and comfortably clipped before continuing with the session. So far, Zilla, Ole, Cirrus, and Hans have learned this important behavior and we hope to add all the ambassadors to that list soon.
Species Spotlight: Ermine (Mustela erminea)
The ermine is a small member of the weasel family. Also called the short-tailed weasel, they are a burnt orange to light red color on top with a white underside. The color of this species changes in the winter to white except for the black tip on the tail, helping them blend in with snow.

The ermine averages only 100-130 grams, but regularly takes down small rodents such as mice and voles. With their small size, they are also preyed upon by raptors and other carnivores larger than themselves, including other weasels. Female ermines have delayed implantation, where fertilized eggs will wait until food availability is more abundant to begin growing and give birth to 4-13 young.
Interested in donating to the American Bald Eagle Foundation? There are multiple ways in which you can support the mission of our facility. By clicking the Support Us button under our logo, you will be transported to the Donate tab on our website. You can explore memberships, sponsorships, legacy giving, and more to choose your impact on the future of our facility. Thank you for being a part of the ABEF Family.  113 Haines Highway Haines, AK 99827 907.766.3094