Fly over to the Kansas Wetlands Education Center’s Great Migration Rally from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., on April 30, for entertainment, prizes and food.
This year’s Rally features Falconer Nate Mathews and Isaiah, his golden eagle. Mathews, currently the only falconer in Kansas hunting with an eagle, will share the remarkable story of Isaiah’s capture, training, loss and recovery.
The main event – migrating through Cheyenne Bottoms to Barton Community College’s Camp Aldrich – begins after activities at KWEC.
“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.
The fun and entertainment include rewards at “migrations’” end, including a full-course meal and prizes, equating to birds finding nesting sites and food sources. Several area businesses, artists and organizations have generously donated great prizes for those who migrate the most successfully with the highest point totals. Top prizes for adults are a WASPcam action-sport camera, Jansport backpack and binoculars and for the kids, a 2-person tent, a pair of binoculars and fishing kit. Additional prizes include but aren’t limited to: sleeping bags, tent chairs, fishing poles, artwork, lanterns, head lamps and gift certificates from restaurants, hotels and other businesses.
Starting at KWEC, participants can watch a research drone demonstration, see some Kansas birds of prey up close, make crafts, get a bird tattoo and learn about bird banding. After choosing a card featuring a migratory bird worth points for prizes, participants set off on their migration, driving through Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve. At stops along the way, they receive situational cards, describing hazards or advantages encountered by “their” bird that subtract or add points.
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. Sts. 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. Dinner will be served and prizes awarded.
Tickets are $5.50 for adults, $3 for children ages 5-12 and free for children under age 5. Participants are asked to pre-register online at wetlandscenter.fhsu.edu or by calling the KWEC, 1-877-243-9268, by April 22.