American Bald Eagle Foundation
September 2020
Museum Interpretation Updates
The diorama room in the ABEF’s natural history museum received updated specimen interpretations and a new railing system surrounding the diorama exhibit. Curator of Collections Katie Bard wrote and received two grants to fund the project. The interpretations were part of a Chillkat Valley Community Foundation (CVCF) grant and the railing system materials were funded through the Museums Alaska’s Collection Management Fund.

The diorama room holds a large portion of the over 200 specimens in the museum. The display is made up of animals from the multitude of ecosystems found in Alaska, from the mountaintops to the ocean floor. The railing allows the interpretations to sit at an easily accessible level, with clear plexiglass underneath to get guests up close to the specimens while better protecting our unique exhibit. The educational interpretations received a design and content update in order to highlight the unique traits of each species with quick facts to help guests walk away learning something new. Thank you to the CVCF and Museums Alaska’s Collection Management Fund for making this project possible!
Protected Contact Weighing Stations
At the ABEF, staff monitor the weights of the birds on our team daily. Each bird gets a tailored diet to their weight, with the goal of keeping birds at the highest healthy weight possible. Maintaining relatively high weights is just one way we ensure birds feel comfortable working voluntarily. Because this is such an important part of the day, the scale is typically the first behavior our birds learn. Now, the behavior is getting an update.

Protected contact is when there is a barrier between trainer and animal that prevents physical contact. Staff chose training voluntary weighing with protected contact so that future ABEF interns can quickly become a part of training in a safe learning environment. Integrating interns in this important morning routine should help them learn the ins and outs of weight management and diet preparation in a fun, hands-on way.
The End of the Summer Season
The days are getting shorter in Haines, and the summer season has officially come to a close. Without cruise ships, this year has looked vastly different than any in recent memory. Instead of educating our tens of thousands of usual guests in person, staff has spent the past few months completing larger projects in the museum and raptor center and educating virtual visitors. With fall setting in, the projects are finishing up and staff is preparing for winter.

In the natural history museum, the new diorama interpretations are receiving finishing touches while staff prepares for the yearly clean and maintenance of over 200 specimens. In the raptor center, roof modifications and snow break installation will ensure snow does not pile up in the aviaries. Reinforcing breezeway doors and supplying power for heat and lighting also have been important wintering steps before the snow begins to fall. While we are grateful for the quiet summer to complete projects, we are looking forward to welcoming guests back to enjoy the updates we have made this summer!
Species Spotlight: Northern Goshawk
The Northern goshawk is a raptor species found in dense coniferous forests of the northern hemisphere. The largest accipiter, or forest hawk, they are agile birds with short, broad wings and a long tail. They primarily hunt birds, ranging in size from songbirds to pigeons and even ducks. Their long tail acts as a rudder to quickly changed direction in flight to weave through dense underbrush and catch prey in mid-air.

Juveniles are brown on top with white underparts and tear drops of brown streaking their front. Adult plumage is gray, darker on the top with a lighter gray underside and horizontal streaks across the breast. Both adults and juveniles have a distinct white eyebrow above each eye, and irises that change from yellow to deep red with age. The elusive nature and cryptic color of the Northern goshawk has earned them the title “Gray Ghost” by birders. For more information on this species, click here!
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