Eagles and agriculture converge
On clear days in February, people stop by Carson Valley’s pastures with binoculars and cameras to catch a glimpse of its regal feathered visitors.
Attracted by the afterbirth from winter calving season, the eagles and their smaller raptor cousins, come down from the heights to feast.
That combination of eagles and agriculture prompted the creation of the Eagles & Agriculture event, which provided a controlled environment for people to enjoy the majestic birds and learn about Carson Valley’s ranching heritage.
Begun in 2003 to help educate people about the Valley’s agriculture, the event has grown to three days of lectures, tours and even a kayak trip.
Sponsored by Carson Valley’s agricultural and ranching community, along with the Carson Valley Visitors Authority, Audubon Society and Great Basin Birding Observatory the event occupies the last weekend of February.
Eagles & Ag kicks off with a birds of prey lecture and reception with speaker Dr. Jeff Smith of Hawkwatch International on Feb. 27. Other speakers include Doug Busselman from the Nevada Farm Bureau, who discusses Nevada agriculture, falconers Lew Souder and Mark Moglich bring a North American goshawk and ornate hawk eagle. The $35 per person entry fee includes hors d’oeuvres and a no-host bar. Cost is $30 for those who plan to attend the ranch tour on Feb. 28.
Tours of area ranches will be Feb. 28, where Carson Valley ranchers will talk about their land.
Learn about Carson Valley ranching and conservation with the opportunity to photograph wildlife from vantage points not available to the general public. Cost is $60 per person and includes motor coach transportation with experts on Carson Valley history and wildlife and buffet lunch.
The owl prowl tour of owl habitat in historic area barns and falconing demonstrations by Souder with his North American goshawk is Feb. 28. The tour is limited to 45 participants, weather permitting. Cost is $35 per person.
A two-day photography workshop is offered Feb. 28 and March 1. Instruction and discussion on Saturday and a nature photo shoot at an area ranch on Sunday. Cost is $60 per two-day workshop and is limited to 30 participants.
Observe eagles, hawks and falcons and other wildlife during a guided raft/kayak trip on the Carson River on March 1. Cost is $75.
To qualify for the Eagles & Ag photography contest, photos size 5- by-7-inches or larger along with a CD must be submitted to the Carson Valley Visitors Authority by March 16. Prizes of $125 will be awarded for the best birding and the best agricultural/wildlife photos taken in Carson Valley. A photo release must be signed for eligibility.
A complete schedule of events and information is at http://www.visitcarsonvalley.org.
Proceeds from Eagles & Ag benefit local wildlife, conservation and agriculture projects.
All tours and events are staged or hosted by the Carson Valley Inn on Highway 395 in Minden.
Register for Eagles & Ag at the Douglas County Parks & Recreation Department, 782-9835 or http://www.visitcarson
Special lodging rates and visitor information at the Carson Valley Visitors Authority, 782-8144 or 800-727-7677.