Sunday, August 14, 2022

HawkQuest in Golden, Colorado



My husband and I met friends in Golden, Colorado the last Sunday in July to go out for brunch and stroll around the town.  It happened to be the last day of the Buffalo Bill Days celebration.  Buffalo Bill Days are Golden’s annual salute to William F. Cody, who is buried atop Lookout Mountain in Golden.  I blogged about his grave a few years ago on this post It is among the most visited tourist attractions in Colorado!

Buffalo Bill Days featured a western weekend filled with the “Best of the West” parade, muttin’ bustin’, firefighters’ pancake breakfast, car show, arts and crafts, live music, kids’ games, and more. The original event dates back to the 1940s as a trail ride up to Buffalo Bill’s gravesite and now is an annual event.





In summer, as one drives into Golden's main street, a familiar sight to see is people carrying floatation tubes of all colors and shapes.




They are all headed to Clear Creek, which runs through the middle of Golden in order to float down a portion of the creek.  We like to stand on the bridge and watch them all float by or walk on a trail that runs alongside the creek to do the same








A short YouTube of some tubers floating down Clear Creek.







After brunch, we all went over to Parfet Park in town to visit the Arts and Crafts market vendors that were there for the Buffalo Days celebration.





In addition to the Arts and Crafts vendors' booth, the park had a stage where different groups performed all weekend, there were rides for children, the local Coors factory had a beer garden set up, and food vendors were available.







My favorite booth on display for Buffalo Bill Days, however, was this educational display and program for HawkQuest 

HawkQuest is a Colorado nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)3 charitable organization. HawkQuest's approach is for education in classrooms and lecture halls, and is participatory, allowing the audience to experience HawkQuest's eagles, owls, falcons, and hawks at close range. The raptors in their care were injured and unable to be released back into the wild, or they were given up from private owners and sanctuaries.

HawkQuest has thirty-five different raptors, representing twenty-one different species. They had four raptors on display in their booth and gave explanations about each of them, as well as their mission statement and requests for donations, along with merchandise for sale. After seeing the program we were happy to make a donation!


These were the four raptors that Hawk Quest had on display at the celebration. The descriptions I've included under each photo are from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website.








"Petite falcon roughly the same size as Mourning Dove, but with a larger head and wider tail. In flight, note long, narrow wings and square-tipped tail. Often seen perched on telephone wires, along roadsides, in open country with short vegetation and few trees. From a perch or hovering, they usually drop to the ground to snatch small mammals and insects. Nests in cavities. Widespread across the Americas."






"Medium-sized owl with a heart-shaped facial disc and deep dark eyes; the only Tyto owl present throughout much of its range. Varies across a wide global range, but always note white-and-black speckling on the upper parts, beautiful gray-and-tawny wings, and a large round head. The color of the facial disc and underparts varies from pure white to rusty orange. Hunts primarily rodents in open areas by night, foraging with a slow and buoyant flight. Roosts in old buildings, tree hollows, caves, and nest boxes by day. Its call is a bone-chilling, rising shriek."









"Dark hawk found in deserts and scrubby open woodland. Brown overall with bright rufous shoulders and thighs. Tail black with white tip and white base. Immatures have variable white markings on the underparts. Unique among raptors for its social behavior; nests and hunts in groups. Feeds on mammals."







"Majestic adults have a blackish-brown body with white head and tail. Several stages of immature plumages aren't quite as majestic, from fully dark brown to messy and mottled with large patches of white. Look especially for white mottling on the belly of immatures. Scavenges and hunts near bodies of water. Soars with wings flat, like a large, dark plank. The Head appears large in flight; projects far in front of the wings. Surprisingly weak-sounding vocalization is a series of high-pitched whistles.





The bald eagle was the star of the show!  

She was a rescue from Alaska and had an injured wing that had healed but prevented her from flying well enough to hunt.  During most of the lecture she was wearing a hood, but her handler took it off and allowed her to stretch her wings for the audience. 


The bald eagle is Alaska’s largest resident bird of prey with a wing span of up to 7.5 feet (2.3 m) and weight between 8 to 14 pounds (3.6 – 6.4 kg). Found only in North America, bald eagles are more abundant in Alaska than anywhere else in the United States. The Alaska population is estimated at 30,000 birds. 





We were really impressed by HawkQuest and their effort to care for these raptors and lead educational programs about them.  If you'd like to help their educational mission you can go to their "How to Help" page on their website or visit their online gift shop which contains books, apparel, hats, notecards, etc.  They also have a Facebook Page If you love birds and raptors they are a wonderful organization to support!


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39 comments:

Angie said...

Pat - looks like a terrific time in Golden. On these hot days, I wouldn't mind a float down a "creek" like that! Hawkquest looks like an impressive organization. And that handler sure seemed to have her hands full with the bald eagle! Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

It sounds like Wild Bill Days are a lot of fun and has something for everyone. I love the explanations and photos of the raptors. I just love Barn Owls so much and learned more about them from your info. They and Bald Eagles are like God's art in feathers.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat,

Looks like a fun time, I would like the HawkQuest. The raptors are all beautiful. The Arts and Craft market looks fun too. It has been awhile since I have gone tubing on the river, a great way to cool off. Take care, enjoy your day and the new week ahead.

roentare said...

The creek photos look the best

Penny Carlson said...

It sounds like a fun day! That eagle is beautiful!

Tom said...

...a bald eagle is always a treat to see.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I'll follow your links to learn more about Hawkquest! I love these photos and I'm so impressed!

Linda W. said...

How very cool to see those raptors close up!

Ruth Hiebert said...

Oh wow! Seeing those raptors up close is so special. We have a Wildlife Rehabilitation site not too far from where In live, like about 80 miles or so. They also visit places and show the raptors that can no longer be in the wild. They also do releases and that is amazing to watch. I watched them release a Bald Eagle. Very special.

ellen b. said...

Such amazing birds to see. I'm always in awe of them. What a fun place to meet up with friends for food and a stroll!

Janice said...

What a fun and educational time you had. Thanks for sharing.

Jeanie said...

It looks like you were here at just the right time. HawkQuest, in particular, sounds wonderful and the display would have been worth the visit, even without the other activities. They are such majestic birds!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

A fun celebration in that pretty little city! Those bird rescue places do wonderful work -- we've visited one here in Eugene (Cascade Raptors) and a couple in Florida. Your pictures are so good -- they could be used as publicity shots by HawkQuest!

William Kendall said...

The birds are remarkable.

Judy Biggerstaff said...

Wow, what an adventure. So such fun and thanks for sharing all the info. Love see the eagle and owl.

stevebethere said...

What a wonderful post full of a mix of photos what a lovely place thanks for taking us with you I liked that owl

Have a hoottastic week 👍

Shelbee on the Edge said...

Oh wow, what a cool place to visit! I love all sorts of festivals like this when you can combine fun, learning, creativity, and inspiration. I have not been to Colorado in decades but I sure would love to get back there some day!

Shelbee

Sharon Wagner said...

It is always fun to see raptors up close. Or in flight far afield! Eagles are a common sight now in the Midwest. :)

Barbara R. said...

Beautiful place, and what fun to see tubers...those in tubes along the creek! And then HawkQuest and it's presentation are fabulous! So glad they are helping the raptors.

Aritha said...

It is beautiful! And I LOVE the video.

Linda said...

I would be enraptured by the Raptors!

csuhpat1 said...

What a cool place. I would love to visit it.

Joanne said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful time! My middle son was a resident bird of prey expert (not even joking when I say he took over a talk at one of our local sanctuaries-- they were so impressed they had him come up and listen to the bird's heartbeat on a stethoscope) so we are very aware of birds of prey in our area and are thankfully seeing more and more of them.

Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening said...

Thank you for taking us along on your adventure. This looks like such a fun place and the birds are amazing, especially the Bald Eagle!

Andree said...

I was in Golden back in the ....well, I'm not saying when. So much has changed. I looked at your Cody gravesite post and the video about the road, and the tubing video. A lot of memories here. Thank you.

Rambling Woods said...

Wow…to those raptors. I took a class on how to capture safely for rehabilitation. I really hope I never have to do that. Wondering about muttin busting….. Michelle

Jim said...

Very interesting.

Mitzi said...

How fun! Tubing down the river...boy that brings back memories. Being older & wiser, I'm not sure I'd be too excited about it these days. I know too well what lingers below (sometimes above) the surface.

Light and Voices said...

It looks like you had fun at the celebration. Wonderful photos and words to go along with it. Good job!

Photo Cache said...

Summer is fun with all the fairs and festivals everywhere.

Worth a Thousand Words

Crafty Green Poet said...

Thanks for the details about some of the hakws! Hawkquest looks like a great project, we have something similar over here too.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Pat

I loved your Hawk Quest photos. The raptors are all beautiful birds. It is neat seeing these hawks up close. The tubing looks fun, It has been awhile since I have gone tubing. Beautiful photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a great weekend. PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

NatureFootstep said...

I would not mind sitting in one os those tubes floating downstream. :)
Beautiful birds. :)

Shiju Sugunan said...

Sounds like a great day.

Karren Haller said...

What an amazing opportunity to see these birds and what an awesome program that helps rescue and care for them. Thank you for sharing on Oh My Heartsie Girl WW, I appreciate the mention as well!!

Sandy said...

What a great weekend! Fun pictures, thanks for sharing. I knew Eagles were large, but had no idea they were that big. That picture really makes it evident though. We've been to Golden...years and years ago when we were out there skiing in our younger days and went the gravesite and bought Coors (which we weren't able to get back home in Ohio at the time).
Sandy's Space

carol l mckenna said...

Oh what a wonderful time at the 'fair' for you both and fascinating birds ~ especially the rescued eagle ~ great photos ~ Xo

Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days,

A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful the colours of the birds, lots of love.

diane b said...

The tubers look like they are having great fun. The raptor show must have been wonderful. The Bald Eagle sure is an impressive bird and they are fabulous photos too.