Fly over to the Kansas Wetlands Education Center’s (KWEC)Great Migration Rally from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 30 to learn about migratory birds. Oh yeah, there will be prizes and food, too. Starting at KWEC, visitors will choose a card featuring a migratory bird worth points for prizes. They will then set off on their “migration,” driving through Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve, visiting various stations. At stops along the way, participants will receive situational cards, describing hazards or advantages encountered by “their” bird that subtract or add points. Several area businesses, artists and organizations have generously donated great prizes for those who migrate the most successfully with the highest point totals.
“It’s an event to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day,” said Curtis Wolf, KWEC manager. “The concept is to provide information about hazards birds face during migration with a fun and entertaining approach.”
This year’s Rally features Falconer Nate Mathews and his golden eagle, Isaiah. Mathews, currently the only falconer in Kansas hunting with an eagle, will share the remarkable story of Isaiah’s capture, training, loss and recovery.
Top prizes for adults are a WASPcam action-sport camera, Jansport backpack and binoculars and for the kids, a two-person tent, a pair of binoculars and fishing kit. Additional prizes include, sleeping bags, tent chairs, fishing poles, artwork, lanterns, head lamps and gift certificates from restaurants, hotels and other businesses.
Attendees will also be treated to a research drone demonstration, see Kansas birds of prey up close, make crafts, get a bird tattoo and learn about bird banding.
At two stops in Cheyenne Bottoms, visitors may use binoculars and spotting scopes to view migrating birds and discover the food they eat at a sampling station. Saints Peter and Paul Church will open for tours as the third stop on the “migration.”
At the migration destination, Camp Aldrich, Mathews and Isaiah provide their presentation, and dinner will be served before prizes are awarded.
Tickets are $5.50 for adults, $3 for children ages 5-12 and free for children under age 5. Pre-register online at wetlandscenter.fhsu.edu or by calling the KWEC, 1-877-243-9268, by April 22.