Look up! It's National Bird Day National Elk Refuge Bald eagle Buckrail - Jackson Hole, news

JACKSON HOLE, WYO –  The National Elk Refuge might be named for the elk it harbors but authorities there never forget about their winged tenants. In celebration of National Bird Day today, Refuge winter naturalists have scheduled a line-up of programs in early January to highlight eagles—one of the most popular birds spotted on the national wildlife refuge.

National Bird Day was established to provide public education and support for conservation of the world’s bird populations. The Bald Eagle represents an American success story, making a remarkable recovery after years of being listed on the threatened and endangered species list.

A series of interactive learning stations will be available from Wednesday, January 10 through Sunday, January 14, from 11am to 2pm each day inside the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, located at 532 N. Cache Street in Jackson. Guests can enjoy the activities as their schedule allows, including people departing for or returning from a wildlife viewing Refuge sleigh ride.

The activities, free of charge and fun for all ages, include:

  • Seeing and photographing actual eagle wings, tail, head, and talons on loan from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s National Eagle & Wildlife Repository in Commerce City, Colorado.
  • Visiting a craft station to build a souvenir eagle puppet while learning about the bird’s extraordinary abilities. All crafting material for the project will be provided.
  • Working through a series of fun challenges to measure your eyesight, grip strength, and “wingspan” against that of a Bald Eagle.

The regularly-scheduled Feathered Fridays visit by the Teton Raptor Center will feature both Gus, a Golden Eagle, and River, an American Bald Eagle on Friday, January 12. Both eagles sustained injuries that prevent them from being released back to the wild, but they make wonderful avian ambassadors in their new-found role as teaching birds.

An additional visit by the two eagles is scheduled for Wednesday, January 10. Both Teton Raptor Center visits are scheduled from 12-2pm. The programs allow visitors the unique opportunity to look at the live eagles from arm’s length away, photograph them, and learn more about their habits and survival.

Naturalists will also lead two Refuge raptor birding trips on Wednesday, January 10 and Saturday, January 13 from 2-4pm to look for eagles in their natural setting. Participants can ride along or caravan to various stops to learn where raptors can frequently be seen and why they are drawn to those locations. Space is limited; carpooling may be necessary. Reservations are required for the birding tour by calling (307) 201-5406 or stopping at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center front desk. The activity is also free of charge.