Raptor Chronicles
By Colorado's Oldest Raptor Sanctuary
President's Message
Spring has arrived here in Colorado, along with weeks of high winds unfortunately. The turkey vultures have returned, and a few Swainson's hawks have been spotted in the Denver Metro area as well, though not by me!

This month we celebrate Earth Day, along with the return of numerous bird species to the United States from distant lands. Our raptors definitely sense the lengthening days and several are vocalizing in a territorial fashion, a.k.a., screaming at wild raptors flying overhead!

In addition to our nesting eagle updates, as well as a reminder for our Open House on May 14th, I hope you enjoy two stories about collaboration with some new partners...honoring our veterans, and giving a second chance to a fellow flighted creature.
~Anne Price, President
Spring is Here!
We've been filming several pairs of wild eagles as they go about the important business of nest building, or nest refurbishment. Spring has also sprung BIG time at our facility and our eagles are not immune to the powerful urge to reproduce, or at least construct a nest. A good way for an eagle to work off some of those hormones is to "go through the motions" by moving pine branches around, and ripping them to shreds. Yes it makes a huge mess...but it makes the eagle enclosure smell wonderful, and it saves the wear and tear on our netting, Astroturf, and perches!
Thanks to Mews Manager Savannah Grout for grabbing her phone so quickly!
Spring Open House on Saturday, May 14!

We are thrilled to announce the return of our Spring Open House! Please join us at our Brighton facility on Saturday, May 14 from 10:30AM to 1:00PM. Our mews (raptor housing) will be open to visitors and we'll have raptors on the front porch area for close-up photos, as well as door prizes and light morning refreshments.
Please RSVP here for more information, and mark your calendars now!
Wildcat Mountain Golden Eagles Incubating!
The nest (also known as an "aerie" or "eyrie") on the west side of Wildcat Mountain has fresh, bright green evergreen branches, and the sides of the "bowl" have been built up considerably in the last few weeks. When Peter visited on March 31st, he observed both parents tending the nest. Although other golden eagle pairs in the area began incubation almost a month ago (as has this pair in previous years), we are thrilled to see the promising start of this year's breeding season. As the expression goes, "Better late, than never!"

By the way, the addition of conifer boughs has a two-fold purpose: not only are they soft and flexible, providing good cushion in the nest, they also discourage the presence of insects. Chemical compounds known as "terpenes" are abundant in conifer resin, and when the tree's bark is damaged, the resin flows out to harden and protect the tree. The terpenes in this resin act as deterrents to some insects such as bark beetles that might otherwise feed on the tree, and also some types of fungi. In a raptor nest, the terpenes discourage flies and other insects and arthropods which are attracted to the leftover meat.
For background and more videos on our page dedicated to the Wildcat Mountain Golden Eagles just click.
For information on trail closures, including maps and lots of background on this nest, click here.
In Memoriam
Helen Johnson, 1920-2022
We are sorry to announce the passing of a valued long-time REF supporter, Helen Johnson. She left us just two weeks shy of her 102nd birthday. Helen was not, in her own words, a “Nature Girl”. However, she was always ready to support REF, especially our efforts in education for children.

Born in the hills of North Carolina near Asheville, she started life in 1920 in a two-room cabin which had been built by her grandfather from local timber. The plumbing was all outside. No electricity, no road. Her path through life finally brought her to the west coast after WWII, and finally to Seattle. She was a career secretary when shorthand was a thing, and she could type flawlessly with three carbon copies. She loved crossword puzzles and could beat the pants off anyone in Scrabble. Known for her kindness and her sweet disposition, she will be sorely missed. RIP, Helen.
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!
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. Just click to order.

If you don't wish to use PayPal, then please click here.
National Desert Storm-Desert Shield War Memorial
Since late last year, I have been corresponding with sculptor Robert Eccleston of Loveland, Colorado about his commission to create a war memorial (model pictured above) that will be installed on the National Mall in Washington D.C. My discussions ended with Robert visiting our facility and meeting some of our raptors in person. Since his winning maquette depicts the national bird of Iraq (the saker falcon) following the national bird of the United States across the desert sands, it's important to him that both raptors are as accurately depicted as possible. REF will be supplying the resources for skeletal measurements, body and behavioral configurations, along with access to our live models for visual reference. We'll also provide our professional impressions to ensure that this national memorial faithfully honors those who served and sacrificed their lives when their respective countries called to defend the freedom epitomized by the two raptors featured in the design. The raptors will be larger than life in the final version. Robert has received numerous memorial commissions in the past and as a soldier himself, this will be his most significant to date. We are excited to be a small part of this national project and will update our readers as things progress.~Peter Reshetniak,Director of Special Projects
Our Two Bald Eagle Nest Update
Sadly, the Barr Lake West nest we reported on in the last issue has failed. Not too long after we sent out our upbeat report about the three bald eagle nests we were monitoring, this nest was checked several times and discovered to be abandoned. Subsequent visits confirmed this. The most obvious reason is the site selection was far too close to the constant rumbling of the freight trains, along with their high-decibel air horns. Peter has seen both adults hanging out within a few hundred yards along the lake shore, however, the nest is no longer attended. We were also just informed that the one active nest at Barr Lake was blown down in the high winds that have been a normal part of spring on the Front Range.

The Commerce City nest and the Star K Ranch nest are shown in the video above. As far as we can tell, everything appears to be progressing along normally. Enjoy our eaglespotting adventures as we publish them in the coming months!
Only Three Posters Left!
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!
Imping a Goose
On January 5th my good friend Dr. Alison Hazel and several members of the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation center staff visited REF. During our many discussions about birds, the issue of broken feathers came up. Greenwood had a Canada goose patient which had been shot but looked as if it would recover, however seven of the 10 primaries on its right wing were broken and they would not be molted and grown back for at least six months. This would prevent the goose from being able to be released in a timely manner.
Dr. Hazel asked me if it might be possible to imp the feathers on this goose. Imping is an ancient falconry technique whereby a new, whole feather is cut, matched and glued onto a broken feather which is still attached to the bird's body. Various materials ranging from bone to needles to bamboo, to even the shafts of other feathers can be used to connect the new feather to the broken feather. We agreed to give it a try in a couple of weeks.
With the added benefit of light anesthesia (Dr. Hazel is operating the machine and monitoring the patient in the video) which kept our patient comfortably asleep and not moving, as well as the expert assistance of rehabilitators Bob Nightwalker and Lea Peshock, we were able to repair all seven of the broken feathers on the right wing of this goose. A particular challenge for me, and one which I didn't expect, was the different internal anatomy of a Canada goose primary, compared to that of a raptor of comparable size. Raptor feathers tend to have very round shafts whereas the feathers on this goose were more oval or teardrop shaped. In addition, the large opening which fit a shaved piece of bamboo skewer on the wing or bone side of the body, quickly narrowed down to a skinny feather shaft, meaning I had to very carefully adjust the diameter of my imping needle from thick to very thin within only a few inches of length.
I brought some goose primaries and Lea had an entire set as well, numbered and marked so we chose the best feathers from each set and began our procedure. Once we figured out the size of the imping needles required, and the best way to shave the bamboo to fit each feather, things moved a bit faster. I use a special two bottle, 5-minute epoxy which dries well and becomes a little sticky, without actually sticking to feathers or fingers, as it begins to harden. For the very last feather on the outside of the wing, or what we call the number 10 primary, the shaft was solid, so I used a steel leather sewing needle to fit the last feather into place. I've previously done the exact same thing with some of REF's eagles.
I'm thrilled that after a about a week, and a few test flights in the pre-release enclosure, this goose and another were driven down to Lamar to the John Martin reservoir area and released to join their wild comrades. I've also never imped any bird other than a raptor, so as a falconer, it was extremely gratifying to use this 5000 year-old technique on another long-lived and highly-migratory bird species.~Anne Price, President
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 monthly pledges automatically...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
Docent In Training: Kristy Bortz