With a little looking, CSU-Pueblo students can find relatively inexpensive activities in the Pueblo area such as the 18th annual Eagle Days, which took place last weekend.
The event, held at Lake Pueblo State Park, included bird viewing, Native American dancing, “bat talks,” kid programs, Air Force Academy “Flight and Meet and Greet,” presentations, photo contests, field trips and treats.
The birds were not released due to poor weather conditions, so the birds will be released at a later date. One simply has to call Lake Pueblo or read the local newspaper for the upcoming release day.
Last weekend, the weather did not stop the human observers from participating in the events.
The opening event on Friday evening allowed the participants to view and vote on photos from the contest in a slide show presentation from the local Audubon club. Still shots hung on the wall in the Lake Pueblo Visitor Center. Community members, including CSU-Pueblo students, are free to enter the contests.
On Saturday, people learned about eagles, owls, falcons and hawks while they had a chance to see the birds of prey up close during the expert talks.
The Air Force Falconeers also presented a talk about their training birds. Only 12 spots for cadets are available for training the birds. The one seen in the picture was the original mascot, Destiny.
“She’s a gyrofalcon, an arctic species falcon. Her job now is to be a mother,” said Cody Nelson, an Air Force Academy student, about the white falcon on display.
Three other falcons were available to view up close. The handler-students answered questions the majority of the day. Later, they provided a demonstration with a flight.
Native Americans danced several dances during the event including the Eagle Dance and the Friendship Dance where audience participation was encouraged.
On Sunday, an open house at the Raptor Center provided another chance to see the birds and additional species at the rehabilitation facility.
Raptor centers are needed for birds that fall victim to accidents or human interference and may depend on human help for the rest of their lives. People can use the raptor center to see some of these great birds up close without risk of fines or endangering themselves or others. This educational opportunity may lead to other opportunities such as volunteering.
“We only have one paid position here, the rest is volunteer work. We do have a wish list. We would love to put up webcams, but it will cost us $10,000 to get Internet out here. The wish list is on the website,” said Diana Miller, director of the raptor center.
Miller went on to talk about the uses for the birds.
“We have some birds that we use for education. Others are used for foster parents when we get babies in,” Miller said.
All the weekend events were free to the public; however, a day pass is always required at the reservoir. The $7 pass allows visitors 24 hours to view the park.
“As many as 400 visitors attend the flights,” said Miller, in regard to the upcoming event.
The raptor center is open to the public on weekdays. This is another free activity for CSU-Pueblo students.