Raptor Chronicles
Commerce City Nest Incubation Begins
Peter's visit on February 22nd and 23rd confirmed that the Commerce City bald eagles nesting south of 112th Ave and west of Chambers Rd are incubating! We believe it "officially" began on the afternoon of the 22nd and in about 35 days the first egg should hatch if all proceeds normally. For those of you new to this site, this eagle pair has unfortunately had multiple nest failures. Last year we concluded that the male may be infertile. However since we cannot be 100% certain that this is the same pair from the previous years, we'll have to just wait and watch. Let's keep our fingers and wings crossed for this year! Look for frequent updates on our Facebook page.
Our Golden Girl's 40th Birthday!
It's hard to believe, but this year our female golden eagle will be turning FORTY years old! She is by no means the oldest golden eagle living with people in the US, nor around the world. We had a male live to around 55 years old before we lost him to West Nile virus back in 2003. However, our beautiful girl has been with REF since she was just over six months old. Her nest, which was in in a tree in the Bozeman, Montana area, was destroyed when the tree was logged. She was taken to a rehabilitator, but became strongly imprinted to people while she was being raised. From what we were told, she was released at about twelve weeks old, but after a week of not eating, she came down to a man working in an oil and gas field in desperation, looking for food. Fortunately for all involved, he captured her and brought her back to local authorities, who recognized that she didn't know how to hunt.
During the ensuing decades, she has seen literally hundreds of thousands of people of all ages. To this day, many people cannot believe that she weighs only eleven pounds, but they are always impressed by her huge wingspan, and powerful feet tipped with rear talons nearly three inches long. She has changed the hearts, minds and actions of some ranchers who were convinced that eagles killed their cattle, or carried away sheep. Others who didn't even realize that we have two species of eagles on this continent, walked away with a greater appreciation of the critical role eagles play in the food chain, and the challenges they face surviving in the arid West. The normal lifespan of wild golden eagles is between 20-30 years, so at 40, she is definitely slowing down a bit. She's learned to better enjoy our famous Colorado sun since our move to Brighton in 2009, with the result that her back feathers exhibit this stunning, mottled array of older, sun-bleached feathers mixed with fresh, brown plumage grown in last summer. She's not just golden on her hackles (the feathers on the back of her neck), she's golden all over!
Peter and our golden at the World Cup in Beaver Creek in 1999
Our golden eagle has been featured at the Birds of Prey World Cup Men's Alpine Skiing Championships for many years, and helped inaugurate the course way back in 1997. She has been featured on numerous live and recorded television broadcasts from this prestigious annual event hosted by the Vail Valley Foundation at Beaver Creek Resort in Colorado. Between the American and European audiences, we believe she may be the most photographed and widely-viewed golden eagle in the world. She is truly an international avian star, and after all this time, almost nothing phases her, including helicopters overhead, or a pair of racing skis in her face!
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!
Our Online Store is Open Again!
A New Look...click on the image below
Help Our Book Take Flight: Order Today!

Orders Here! Or you may order on Amazon. Peek Inside
Read more about the author and the illustrator.
Support us by shopping at AmazonSmile 
Listen for us the first Saturday of the month at
12:00 noon for five minutes of "raptorous" delight
with the BirdTalk Guys,
Scott & David Menough. Click here!
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!
Our New 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.
A New Print for the New Year
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 35 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.
Whidbey Island Neighbors
You often hear about these two raptors sharing habitat, but I've rarely seen them this compliant with field guide descriptions. I was also amazed about how much time the northern harrier spent on the ground. I've never been lucky enough to get them to sit anywhere for more than the time it takes to set up a tripod and camera before they fly off. The short eared owl is a very strong flier, but very deceptive in how quickly it moves. Those long wings really move it rapidly through the air! This footage was shot on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound, near Crockett Lake off Highway 525.~Peter Reshetniak, Founder
Beautiful Buteos
Thanks to Marilyn Brewer Stevens, we've got a fantastic set of photos here to help identify the differences between our three Colorado wintering buteos. The ferruginous hawk and rough-legged hawk have feathered tarsi, or the lower part of the leg right above the foot. The red-tailed hawk has bare tarsi, hence the bright yellow skin which is very visible. With the red-tailed hawk, you can see the red-tail on the adult, as well as a buffy underside of the wing with a dash and "comma" mark, on the wrist. The ferruginous hawk has rusty legs and a very pale wing marked with gray edges. Lastly, the male rough-legged hawk has a lot of speckling, which continues onto the breast and belly, and a carpal patch that is almost a circle. Of course, each bird has some variation; some red-tails have almost no carpal mark, and female rough-legged hawks don't have the amount of fine speckling that males do.

Thank you once again Marilyn for these lovely images!
More "dash" on the leading edge, than the "comma" mark, but note the bare lower legs on the red-tailed hawk above.
Many ferruginous hawks have a pale, rusty lower half of their tail which may or may not be visible.
Of the three species discussed, rough-legged hawks have the smallest feet, but even this little guy looks like
he's having difficulty balancing on the T-post!
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