Raptor Chronicles
By Colorado's Oldest Raptor Sanctuary
Message from the President

Summer is unofficially here in Colorado, complete with triple-digit temps, mosquitos and ironically, a Stanley Cup appearance by our hockey team...GO AVS!

My docents and staff know that this is the time of year when I start asking when is it going to snow (the answer is, be quiet Anne, it snowed a month ago!), because I don't care for the heat. But summer is a time of growth and abundance for wildlife, and the "race to reproduce" is critical for all animals, especially birds. Many species including songbirds and raptors such as Mississippi kites and Swainson's hawks, have only a brief window to master flight and hunting, before embarking on a long and perilous journey to South America. The journey of a young Denver Swainson's hawk, not even 120 days old, can be around 6000 miles to the grasslands of Argentina. Imagine being a teenager and having your parents announce, "we're walking as a family from Paris to Hong Kong this fall, and we'll come home in about six months?!" It's a daunting, epic journey, so I must remind myself that the insects which seem to bite only me, are also critical food for our growing birds.

Speaking of critical, we've seen many of our expenses drastically increase over the last few months, including the quail we feed our birds, medication for our elderly ambassadors, and especially the gas we use in our van to travel to programs. We know our members are feeling the pinch as well...any extra help you can provide is deeply appreciated! Thank you, and Happy Father's Day to all. ~Anne Price, President
Our Eagle Scout Project and Court of Honor Program
We were thrilled to be part of Luke Stinemetze’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor celebration, which took place on May 28th over Memorial Day weekend. Luke’s Eagle Scout project was a completely new tool/storage cabinet for REF constructed at home last summer and installed in August 2021. This impressive young man, who is also a budding biochemist, cellist, and plant aficionado will be attending the University of Colorado-Boulder in the fall.

Luke and his crew transported the two sections of the assembled cabinet to our facility in Brighton, and then spent the better part of the day getting it erected on a base and mounted to the exterior of our female bald eagle’s pen, as you can see starting at 5:32. It’s taller, wider and sturdier than our previous cabinet (which we brought with us from Aurora) and made with a slanted, shingled roof, and pressure-treated wood. As Anne expressed to the audience during her presentation, a “tool shed” may not sound like a big deal, but to an organization like ours, caring for raptors in Colorado’s harsh climate, Luke’s hard work is an enormous gift to us.

Thank you again to the Stinemetze family for their support and hard work over the last year…good luck, Luke!
Early Evening Bath
When the business day is finished and the humans leave, our security cameras capture some interesting moments in the lives of our educational ambassadors. Our seven year-old female bald eagle loves water and enjoys bathing. Sometimes she's in her tub twice a day!

As the summer heats up, we'll be filming more of her "water aerobics"...enjoy!
Lots of Other Ways to Help!
A Special Anniversary Offer on All Three of Our Books!
Celebrate our 42nd anniversary by purchasing our
three books at this special price!
Our Online Store is Open!
A new look...click on the image below.
Help Our Book Take Flight:
Order Today!
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

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!
At long last, our friends at Jabebo have given raptorphiles what we want: the most ubiquitous hawk working with humans around the world! The new Harris' hawk design took a bit longer than expected; getting the dark eyes to stand out against dark plumage turned out to be harder than Anne or Kevin expected, but we're thrilled with the results! Get yours 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!
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!

in Case You Missed it!

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. Click here to order.

If you don't wish to use PayPal, then please click here.
Back to the Botanic Gardens!

We are very excited to announce that we'll be returning to the Denver Botanic Gardens on Friday, July 22nd for Raptor Day.
This year, all of the programs will be inside the Freyer Newman Center (FNC) and Mitchell Hall. We'll have one of our ambassador birds in the main entrance area of FNC, story time featuring the Fidget books in the library, raptors in the cool and spacious Mitchell Hall and a 15-minute film on loop in the FNC auditorium showcasing common Colorado raptors. The entry times are spaced into 90-minute intervals, which will be convenient for visiting the outdoor gardens before or after seeing our birds, and for families with small children...everything repeats! We'd love to see many of our local Front Range supporters and members at this entertaining and educational event!
Burrowing Owl Duo
Burrowing owls have returned to Colorado, so get ready for some serious fun and the highly-entertaining antics of this nesting pair. The owl we believe to be the male, spends long periods of time outside the burrow, surveying his territory. Besides constantly scanning the horizon for potential predators and prey, he's also keeping a sharp eye on his prairie dog neighbors. It's possible that he caught an insect or two, or maybe a mouse in the early morning hours when it was cool, so now is the time for preening and resting in the sun. There is a lot of overlap in weight between males and females; although the ladies are technically a bit larger, it is not a reliable indicator of gender. As you can see, when Mom emerges, she does look a bit smaller than Dad. Some of that appearance is due to the fact that she's been underground and her feathers are compressed tightly against her body. But here in sunny Colorado, it's usually easier to distinguish Mom from Dad because he spends so much time out in the sun, which will fade his dusty-brown wing and back feathers to a lighter shade.

Mom definitely seems to be on a mission to stretch her legs, ensure that Dad hasn't left any chores undone, and fly off in search of a quick snack. We're pretty sure there are eggs underground, and possibly even newly-hatched owls which aren't quite ready to make their appearance on the prairie yet. Dad's job is to stand guard, and make food deliveries once the babies are a bit larger. These diminutive owls, weighing about 4.5 to 6 oz, are perfectly adapted for life on the ground, in the wonderful, wide-open spaces of the west. Keep checking back with us for the first appearance of the owlets!

Jeff Wang Does it Again!
Look closely: that's a northern saw-whet owl poking its head out of a nest hole in an aspen tree in the foothills west of the Denver Metro area. By "foothills", we mean around 8000 feet in elevation; we have "high" standards for mountains here in Colorado.

These tiny (around 3.5 ounces) owls are found around the United States, but their wintering habits and migratory movements are still rather poorly understood. In Colorado, some simply move down in elevation during the winter; Anne has seen them in her neighborhood in southwest Denver during Thanksgiving, at about 5500 ft. On the east coast however, they seem to disperse across habitat types and across states. Read more here about one of the most charming and elusive species of owls in US. Thanks again Jeff...we can't wait to see more!
A Request For Help
With colleagues and friends in Russia and Ukraine this tragedy is very difficult to understand. This is Putin's war, and the old Slavic tribal animosities never linger far below the surface when irrational fear and anger rule. These two charities are very active feeding and providing medical supplies for my Ukrainian brothers and sisters in their homeland and in those bordering countries that have taken in millions of Ukrainian refugees. If you can help, please do. Дуже дякую! (Thank you very much!)
~Peter Reshetniak, Founder
Keeping Everyone Cool
With the summer season underway, our feathered staff need help in keeping their cool. Their normal body temperatures run around 106F and when the ambient air temperature surpasses 100F in our mews, it's critical to have systems in place that can drop the temperature rapidly. Fortunately, over the years Peter has created a variety of systems to help cool the birds. Our summer shade nets are already in place, and with a sprinkler system adapted from lawn irrigation (image above), the nets are sprinkled three times during the hottest parts of the day. Once the shade nets are sprinkled, they act like very large evaporative coolers and the ambient temperatures drop by 10-20 degrees or more if a breeze is present.This summer, we've also ordered five additional shade nets to increase the shaded footprint. The wet pea gravel substrate also increases the cooling directly to the birds' feet or body, and some will lay on it for full body contact.

With help from Honeywell engineers, Peter was able to hook up a household thermostat (image below) that turns on the electricity to the irrigation computer on a set schedule. The Honeywell engineers talked Peter through reversing the thermostat's function so that it turns on at 80 degrees instead of at a lower temperature which would turn on a furnace.

It's YOUR donations which make important upgrades and seasonal repairs like this possible!
Please click here to support our birds, and THANK YOU for your help!
Irrigation computer on the left and the reversed Honeywell thermostat on the right
Raptors , Ravens, & Cell Phones
Cell phone network providers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, etc., utilize tall, cellular transmission towers which occasionally encounter problems with nesting raptors or other bird species. There is a national company which specializes in maintaining the integrity and reliability of the network, while being sensitive to the breeding birds.

In Colorado, that company engages our services to identify the species, confirm nesting status and supply additional data if required. Cell towers are often housed on existing tall structures, camouflaged in church steeples or disguised as artificial spruce trees. Once we determine nesting status, we report back and any technical services are delayed until the nesting cycle is completed. If the nest is inactive then maintenance can proceed. During this spring we were engaged to visit three cell towers; the latter two pictured in our short video were hidden in church bell towers. But all three cell towers had nesting common ravens, not raptors. Since virtually all bird species are protected by federal laws, the telecommunications companies must adhere to strict guidelines which means confirmation by REF, and then waiting until the young birds have fledged the nest.

Next time your phone rings, think of raptors, ravens, or REF!
Join the 52 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 automatic monthly pledges...thank you!!
REF Staff: Anne Price, President & Curator; Peter Reshetniak, Founder & Director of Special Projects; Savannah Grout, Mews Manager
Docents & Volunteers: Elise Bales, Phil Carter, Kevin Corwin, Karen Gonzalez, Bernhard Hafner, Kim Kistler, Linda Julia, Jennifer McAllister, Anne Price, Jennifer Redmond, Peter Reshetniak, Beverly Rice, Mitch Skinner, Ann Stanz
Docents In Training: Kristy Bortz and Karen Ogle