American Bald Eagle Foundation       October 2019


(e)agle newsletter



www.baldeagles.org   113 Haines Highway Haines, AK 99827 907.766.3094
Meet the Interns

Ali Gustavson is a Wildlife Ecology graduate from the University of Maine. She learned about the ABEF summer internship while interning at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center in Petersburg, PA. Ali chose the ABEF internship so she could continue working with raptors at a birds-first facility and learn to build strong, trusting relationships with ambassador animals.
Until coming to Alaska this past May, Ali had never left the East Coast. Maine is her home, but she was ready for the next big adventure and Alaska seemed like the perfect fit. This internship gives her the chance to work closely with the human and feathered staff to learn all about raptor care and environmental education. Staff has so enjoyed Ali’s enthusiastic attitude that she has been invited to stay with us through the winter!
Richard Kline is a graduate of Northern Virginia Community College’s Biotechnology program. Richard previously worked as an intern at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and was excited to see the differences and creative opportunities he would have at a non-profit of our size. Having the chance to work on both sides of our facility, in the raptor center and museum, was a large factor in choosing to accept the internship with the ABEF.
Richard’s goal during his internship was to learn more about positive reinforcement and training with raptors. When choosing a position, location wasn’t much of a factor. Richard came to this facility to gain knowledge about a career in conservation, and Alaska seemed like a great place to work while seeing an abundance of wildlife and exploring other conservation programs. Staff has enjoyed Richard’s attention to detail in projects and drive to learn during his time here.
New Ambassador

Cirrus the Northern hawk owl is the newest member of the ABEF avian ambassador team! He came to the Foundation from the Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage, Alaska. While most species of owl are nocturnal, this elusive species is unique because they are an owl that is active during the day. Northern hawk owls perch at the tops of evergreen and aspen trees during mid-day scanning for small rodents and birds. Cirrus is the newest member of our avian ambassador team and staff has been observing him as he settles into his new home. He has an array of vocalizations, his most common being an ascending high-pitched screech that lets his trainers know when he’s ready to work. Follow Cirrus as he begins his journey with the ABEF on social media and our website!
Ambassador Update: Warrior
There are many ways birds are trained to interact with guests and deliver educational programs. Stepping onto a glove and leaving their aviary makes birds more accessible up-close, giving guests the opportunity to foster a personal connection with wildlife. This is a behavior that takes time and patience to train, especially when a bird has had negative experiences with it in the past. Warrior has been working on coming outside on the glove over the past few months.
Coming outside on the glove is not a behavior that happens overnight. The success of the behavior has to do with the comfort and confidence of the individual, which takes time. Warrior’s primary trainer, Katie Dickerson, has worked patiently with him as he stepped on the glove, allowed her to put equipment on, and finally stepped outside. Working at Warrior’s pace was key to this behavior. He had never stepped outside with his trainer comfortably in the past and Katie wanted to make it a positive and voluntary experience.  With Warrior comfortably stepping outside, his trainers are planning on introducing him to outdoor programs next summer.
Species Spotlight: Brown Bears

Alaska is home to three different subspecies of brown bear: grizzly, coastal, and Kodiak. The second largest of the three, the coastal brown bear, is native to Southeast Alaska. Coastal brown bears get their name because much of their omnivorous diet is found near water. They are most active during dawn and dusk, eating berries, twigs, grasses, and migrating salmon.  Food is easier to acquire near water, so these bears grow on average between 250 and 900 pounds, and as large as 1,400 pounds. Because of their size, adults cannot climb, and have long, rake-like claws that can reach a length of four inches for foraging. Their muscular backs help them lift large logs and rocks. Although they will hunt for their food, the largest prey they would be able to successfully take down in Alaska would be a small moose calf. If they are given proper space and respect, they are a must-see species while visiting Southeast Alaska.
When you become a member of the American Bald Eagle Foundation, you’re helping to fund educational programs such as our Youth Raptor Program, reduced price programs for low-income families or groups, as well as the resources we need to give our avian ambassadors the best possible care via husbandry, enrichment and training. Interested in joining?