New Web Site Pages For Remote Education, 100 Years, Celebrated in Quarantine
Going Viral Update
We've had multiple cancellations of programs and events since our last newsletter. Colorado and the rest of the world are facing this dramatic turn of events from a booming economy to the specter of a worldwide pandemic.
The real data is sometimes hard to come by, with some countries controlling what is reported within and outside borders. We hope that our look at historic pandemics below may provide some perspective, and that all of our readers are taking appropriate precautions and staying safe and healthy.
Our landlords, THF Realty & The Kroenke Group, have reduced our lease costs to zero, which is a huge help, and for which we are eternally grateful. The expenses of electricity, bird food, veterinary care, facility maintenance, utilities, gasoline, office supplies and postage still all require payment to keep our operations going. In keeping with state mandates, our Spring Open House on April 25th has been cancelled. We are, however, striving to keep our birds healthy and ready to respond when the massive restrictions are lifted, and/or when a new opportunity presents itself.
One of these new opportunities to help us and to help people staying at home, is an exiting new program created with the aid of the BirdTalk Guys. We were scheduled to make an announcement on their radio program this past Saturday, March 21st, but we were delayed due to a technical glitch. However, you can engage with us right now: just go to Color in Place to begin. Anne Price or Peter Reshetniak will be doing monthly guest spots with David and Scott Menough on BirdTalk over the next few months, adding raptor commentary and a bit of expertise. Thanks to Scott and David's Wild Bird Unlimited stores for sponsoring these appearances and our Color in Place contest. BirdTalk can be heard each Saturday at 12:00 Noon on 710 KNUS Radio in Denver and is available via the web and Facebook as well. Peter was interviewed on March 28th, and listen for us to visit with David and Scott the first Saturday of every month. Stay tuned!
Our Small Group Tours have been temporarily halted as well. We've created a digital door to our facility so that you can see videos of what we're doing, and what we have done over the past few years. These are both educational and fun to watch, especially the video of a skunk visiting our male eagles just a few days ago!
Some folks are donating monthly to support our operations, which is a wonderful way to make sure our expenses can be met. If everyone on our membership mailing list (just over 3,000 people) contributed just $5 per month, we would easily weather this viral storm. Donations of $15-20 per month, for instance, would feed one kestrel for that month. When you click on the donation button, PayPal makes monthly contributions easy. If you don’t use PayPal, our Square Up credit card system will allow us to automatically charge your card on a prearranged schedule that’s convenient for you. Please call us at 303-680-8500 so we may personally assist you. Our Gift Cards, shown below, are also an easy way to share the support of our birds with family and friends. Don't forget our Driving for Wildlife campaign too. Check out how easy it is to get your car involved. If you're active on Facebook, that's a great way to help us out too!
Our docents make it possible to stretch our resources and accomplish a great deal with every dollar we receive. They have been our lifeline for years, and their dedication during this stressful time has been absolutely exceptional. Additionally, we are closely watching the CDC and State of Colorado guidelines and are working to maintain the health of all the humans, as well as the birds at our facility.
We realize that people are very concerned and facing numerous challenges right now. Thank you so much for keeping our birds in your hearts as you circle the wagons and keep your own families close!
Thanks to the following members and visitors who have donated just under $1,000 since our last newsletter: B. Birdsall, L Champman, C. Cunneen, A. Keeth, K. Kondo, L. Crosby, K. Metz, and J. Smith. Thanks to all of our monthly donors who continue their support, and we welcome all donors large and small as we face these perilous times.
Times are tough right now...things are weird, let's face it. On top of everything else, we've been dealing with a "mystery" animal digging around the northwest edge of our mews, around our two large eagle enclosures, and apparently entering and exiting at will. On March 27th, the mystery was solved when we finally captured the culprit on our Arlo camera system!
This little stinker is ALL attitude, and ZERO fear! You're watching a compilation of several videos shot on two separate nights, several days apart. Our 30 year-old male bald eagle was rudely awakened from his sleep, and our male golden, 20 years old and visible in the upper right hand corner of the screen (video above) seemed mildly amused. Thank goodness our raptors are well-fed, and used to food that isn't still moving! You can see the skunk boldly running around and digging in and out of the pen overnight a second time from April 2nd into the wee hours of April 3rd. We're fortunate that our male bald has realized that discretion is the better part of valor, though we would totally understand a younger and more able-bodied eagle putting this skunk in its place!
Trapping and relocating a raccoon (which is what we thought our visitor was) is one thing, but a skunk is an entirely different matter! We've blocked up holes and fortified the fencing, and at this point, we believe the problem has been fixed. We're hoping that no other critters mysteriously appear on camera overnight!
A Historic Perspective on Plagues
Understanding pandemics requires a look back through history, and one of the best graphic representations of pandemics is featured here. The image above is snipped from that story, which is a fantastic resource about infectious diseases throughout history.
A Mousemerizing Experience
Things are very challenging here at REF headquarters. We just had a raptor team meeting, and it came down to drawing straws. I got the short one and have been conscripted into doing this shameless, self-serving video asking for YOUR help to keep our mouse supply coming. Of course, its not just mice I'm asking for, the falcons need quail, the eagles need rabbits, elk, ducks, geese, while the hawks will take an assortment of rodents and other bits and pieces. Our vulture, of course, has it easy: he'll eat everything! The easiest way to get all this stuff to us quickly is good old hard cash, and since all of us have to stay hidden behind doors and walls, the fastest way to get that cash to all of us is to just go to our web site and use the "Donate" button. Thanks for helping us...we really appreciate it.
REF is very excited to announce that we're partnering with King Soopers and their Community Rewards Program! 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!
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. Watch for periodic reminders, and please share with your friends and family!
On April 1st, Helen Johnson, a long-time benefactor of REF, turned 100. Helen, shown in the 1950's below with her daughter, Marie, is also our Founder's mother-in-law. Marie and Peter had planned a different kind of birthday celebration, but the COVID-19 quarantine of senior homes in Seattle turned all of that upside down. The fantastic staff at Helen's facility however, met the viral challenge head-on. They brought in a large TV and set up a Zoom conference with Marie and Peter so they could to see Helen and sing her Happy Birthday. They also enjoyed watching as Helen saw the many birthday cards sent from all over the country wishing her a wonderful day.
A Special Anniversary Offer on all Three of Our Books!
Celebrate our 40th anniversary by purchasing our three books at this special price!
“As a person who has studied predatory birds in many lands over the course of 60+ years, I see this beautiful collection of Donald Malick’s art together with Anne Price’s concise life history for each species as a great introduction to raptors. To me, the outline drawings, although great coloring fun for a small child, are also an important learning tool for teens and adults, especially in memorizing the color schemes of each species. For this purpose, and for general relaxation from the business of the world, I urge that colored pencils be used to more precisely match the paintings. Above all else, this book helps you enjoy our amazing wildlife heritage."
In September, 2019 we celebrated three years since the arrival of our wonderful female bald eagle. She arrived as a timid, 18 month old sub-adult, and it's been a privilege, a lot of hard work, and a team effort that's resulted in the beautiful, confident and well-adjusted bird you see in the collage above. Thank you once again toMarilyn Stevens for continuing to take these stunning images of our "girl", now almost five years old!
It's the time of year here in Colorado when adult bald eagles are feeling territorial, and the teenagers are asserting their independence. Jeff was staying pretty local last weekend, and still managed to photograph some amazing aerial acrobatics between a likely four year old adult and a "second winter" or almost two year old subadult.
Above, the two year old demonstrates a textbook and frequently-used move that many raptors employ when threatened from above: barrel roll and present your weapons to deter the incoming bogey!
Most of these conflicts which occur in early spring allow young eagles to practice their flying skills, and help adults keep the "pecking order" in and around wintering grounds. They're not terribly serious and spectacular
to observe from the ground....thanks Jeff!
Twenty-One Years Ago!
We created Colorado's first environmental license plates back in 1999. Only qualified REF members are permitted to display these on their vehicles. Tell your friends and help us put another 1,000 eagles on the highways and byways of Colorado! Just $24.95 helps spread our message that Coloradoans Respect Wildlife.
We've had many requests for Gift Cards. Thanks to the folks at Square we are now very happy to make gift cards available to everyone to give to friends, family, and total strangers! Lots of designs for raptorphiles. Currently our gift cards are only available in the electronic versions.
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 are looking for a gently-used, 25-foot RV that would serve as a mobile office for traveling programs around Colorado and further away. Or, maybe you have an SUV or pickup truck you would like to donate? We can put them to good use! Please give our office a call if you have a vehicle you think we could use! (303) 680-8500
REF's First Facebook Live Event!
Thanks so much to Mark and Lindsey with HRCA Backcountry Wilderness Area for a fun and informative live chat on April 3rd. We hope this will be the first of several live programs introducing you to Colorado's raptors, many which you can see in Highlands Ranch and throughout the Denver Metro Area.
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!!