by Amanda Crinigan
On March 7th, Red Rock Audubon members and Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve staff participated in a raptor event led by Alex Harper (Biologist & Guide w/ Bird Las Vegas ) and Martin Tyner (Licensed falconer, eagle falconer & wildlife rehabilitator, founder & owner of Southwest Wildlife Foundation).
The event was held to bring awareness to the endangered Steppe Eagle and the efforts of Champions of the Flyway to tackle its decline. Alex and Martin provided insights and education on birds of prey and how vital it is that we protect them.
Some Background: Champions of the Flyway is a fund- and awareness-raising event in global birding and conservation circles. It began back in 2014 and has raised over $500,000 for bird conservation since that time. Their focus is on the many challenging issues migratory birds face. This year is focused on the migrations on the Steppe Eagle from Kazakhstan & Uzbekistan. The Steppe Eagle is classified as a Globally Endangered species and estimates as few as 50,000 mature individuals are left on the planet.
Alex and his team were set to attend the 2020 event in Eilat, Israel to bird for 24 hours, raising money toward protecting the Steppe Eagle. Sadly, with the pandemic, the team's plans had to be canceled. However, Alex’s team “In It To Linnet” continues to fundraise, donations go directly toward actions and measures which can protect this species. That’s truly the best part about Champions of the Flyway. Funds raised will go directly toward protecting the species. In this case, Steppe Eagles are most threatened by fires and electrocutions. To read more about Steppe Eagles and how COTF will help them, follow this link: https://www.birds.org.il/…/Champions-of-the-Flyways-2020-Fu…
You can still help Alex, his team and the Steppe Eagle. You can read more about “In It To Linnet”, Alex and the team and if you wish to make a donation, click the “donate here” icon.
Martin Tyner, of the Southwest Wildlife Foundation, once again shared his birds of prey ambassadors with us, Helen (Peregrine Falcon), Belle (Harris's Hawk) & Scout (Golden Eagle). We learned so much about these amazing birds. Some fast facts:
Females are larger than males.
They have virtually no sense of smell.
All birds of prey produce pellets, the indigestible parts of the prey they eat.
Harris’s hawks hunt in groups.
Of course, the best part of Martin’s presentation is witnessing the amazing bond he has with his birds. This is second only to his incredible and endearing stories. If you’d like to learn more about Martin’s work, get a copy of his book, “Healer of Angels”, (which we all recommend), or make a donation to help him continue his efforts, follow the links below.
Red Rock Audubon thanks Alex and Martin for their time, wisdom and commitment to protection and preservation of birds of prey.