FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – On Saturday, Feb 26th Willow Bend Environmental Education Center in partnership with Liberty Wildlife, AZ Game and Fish, United States Forest Service and other Arizona Watchable Wildlife Experience partners held its Annual Eagle Celebration.
This event was a true celebration, as it was the first “in-person” community event at Willow Bend since the pandemic started. Last year’s eagle celebration was held online. And as wonderful as it was to visit with the eagles through the screen, nothing beats the real deal.
The day consisted of two separate presentations at Willow Bend. An all-ages presentation by AZ Game and Fish and USFS biologists and a family focused one led by Willow Bend staff. Both talks covered eagle ecology, management, and conservation. During the family focused program our young participants became ornithologists for the day and made observations about eagle characteristics, feeding habits, and habitat. One young volunteer got to dress up as an eagle to demonstrate key eagle adaptations.
But the highlight of the day was the appearance of live birds from Liberty Wildlife: Cochise an adult bald eagle, Chaco, a red tailed hawk, and a turkey vulture. The eagle displayed his impressive wingspan, powerful talons, and affectionate behavior while Joe and Jan Miller, wildlife rehabilitators and bird trainers from Liberty Wildlife, shared information about the birds, conservation efforts, and Liberty Wildlife rehabilitation center.
“We are so excited to bring eagles and other birds back to Willow Bend. Kids and adults alike were very enthusiastic, and everyone was very supportive of wildlife conservation. And that is what this is all about!” said Moran Henn, Willow Bend’s Executive Director. Joe Miller, from Liberty Wildlife, emphasized the importance of programs that rehabilitate and protect eagles, and shared a few simple ways each and every one of us can help, “from picking up fishing lines, leaving birds alone while in their nests, and notifying the appropriate entities if you see an injured bird or unlawful behavior” said Miller. Hannah Griscom, AZ Game and Fish Habitat specialist AZ Game and Fish was pleased with the public’s interest in local wildlife. She concluded that “we had another very successful year!”.
“That was amazing!” shared Sarah, one of the event’s young participants. “I hope we can do this again next year!”. “So do we”, concluded Henn, “So do we”!
Willow bend’s mission is to provide education outreach services that build environmental awareness and an ethic of responsible stewardship of our natural and cultural resources.
To learn more about upcoming programs visit www.willowbendcenter.org