Thursday, December 16, 2010

S.O.A.R participates in Bald Eagle egg relocation


On Tuesday, December 14th, 2010, two Bald Eagle eggs were removed from a nest at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Florida The American Eagle Foundation (AEF) was contacted to help in the egg recovery and transport back to their Tennessee facility at Dollywood. I was contacted by Al Cerere, President of AEF, to help with the recovery. Dale and I were once employed by AEF and I was, at one time, in charge of the captive breeding program. I was available and went down with the AEF crew on Monday. We arrived at Ed Smith Stadium (Spring training camp for the Baltimore Orioles) at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday and met with the Oriole representatives. A lift was there to carry the nest climber to the nest which was constructed on a light pole tower near right field. The first lift would not allow the climber to get up to the nest, so a second, taller crane was brought in which allowed the climber to access the eggs. The male eagle was on the nest at the time and reluctantly left the nest as the climber approached. The eggs were brought down and placed in the waiting incubators after being weighed and candled to determine if the eggs were developing. Both of the eggs looked good and were transported back to the Eagle Foundations's facility in Pigeon Forge. If all goes well, the eggs should hatch the second or third week in January. It was nice to be able to be a part of the recovery process.

John Stokes

Thursday, November 04, 2010

November programs


We have two upcoming public programs. The first is at Cumberland Mt. State Park Crossville, Tennessee. The program will be on November 14th at 2:00 CST in the Recreation Lodge. Come early because the last two years seating has been very limited due to an overflow crowd.

The second program event will be on November 20th and 21st in Chipley, Florida at the Washington County Expo We will have two shows on Saturday and Sunday. We hope to see you at one of these programs. Thanks!

Dale and John

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Upcoming presentations


We have two upcoming events in Alabama. The first is on October 2nd in Madison. We are doing two birds of prey programs at the Madison Street Festival

Our programs are at 10:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. CDT. This is our second year at this event and our programs are sponsored by the Land Trust of Huntsviille and North Alabama.
The following Friday and Saturday, October 8th and 9th. We will be at the Moundville Archaeological Park Native American Festival Our presentations are at 11:15 and 2:15 CDT.

We are current booking programs for Fall 2010-Spring 2011. If you are interested in a lively and informative presentation, call 706-657-3278 or e-mail us at

We hope to see you at one of our presentations!

Dale and John

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Raptor Experience

Come join us for The Raptor Experience! Have you ever touched an owl? How about have a Red-tailed Hawk stand on your arm (with a leather glove of course). Raptors are some of the most stunning and majestic creatures in nature. The Raptor Experience gives you a very rare opportunity to interact with these incredible creatures up close and personable. John and I will give you and your friends a chance to hold, touch, and fly eight different species of Birds of Prey. From owls, hawks, a falcon, and a very fun and intellegent Black Vulture. Even more exciting, you will learn all about these master hunters and how we train them using falconry techniques. The Session will last about three hours depending on the size of your group, and this family friendly activity is open to ages from 3 to 100 . Do and learn something new, and most of all have tons of fun and get totally wowed by The Raptor Experience!!

This session is only $ 35.oo per person and we have special group rates too!

Call us today to make your appointment and have a hawk fly to you!
706.657.3278/ 423.605.8917

By the way we have gift certificates available

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Last week for Rock City Raptors-2010 and upcoming shows

This is our last weekend for our Rock City Raptors Birds of Prey shows We will be doing shows through Monday September 6th, with show times at 11, 1, 3 and a 4:30 show on Saturday. We also have several programs coming up in September. The first is the Shrimp and Grits Festival on Jekyll Island, Georgia on September 18th and 19th. The next weekend we will be at the Eagle Fest at the University of Wisconsin's Plattville campus. This is the 13th annual Eagle Fest put on by the Eagle Nature Foundation The day for this event is September 25th. The next day, we will be at Tims Ford State Park Winchester, Tennessee with our program at the Visitor's Center at 3:30 p.m. CDT We are also booking programs for Fall/Winter 2010/2011. Please call 706-657-3278 or e-mail Thanks!

Dale and John

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Peregrines released


Sorry for the late post! The Peregrine Falcons, Ted and Zenith, were released early Monday morning, August 2nd. The door to the release box was opened before dawn to allow the birds a stress free departure. Zenith left first at around 6:30 a.m. He made a circular flight over the area and landed in a tree behind Lover's Leap. He stayed there for most of the day. Ted was a little more cautious and ventured first onto the release door/platform and eventually hopped down to the rock cliff just below the box. He played around for a while and finally made his first flight at 10:30. He also made a cautious circular flight and landed in a tree not too far from the release site. He moved a little throughout the day, but stayed within a half mile of the box. They were fitted with leg bands and radio transmitters before release and we have been able to keep track of their movements. Both birds are still in the area. Ted is still near the hack site, perhaps on a very Peregrine-looking set of cliffs within a 1/4 from the box. Zenith has been spending much of his time on the Lookout Valley side of Lookout Mountain near Covenant College. We have been leaving food at the hack box in case they are not successful in the hunt. We hope they will both spend more time in the area before leaving and will survive to set up nesting territories in the area in a few years. We wish them well and thank Rock City for their support in this project.

Dale and John

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Little Joe still AWOL


Our Broad-winged Hawk, Little Joe, is still roaming the Huntsville, Alabama area near Three Caves at the Base of Monte Sano Mountain. Originally lost five weeks ago, he was spotted last week in the neighborhood around Cleermont, Fagan Springs, Waller, Watt and Desoto Roads. He was also seen near the Maple Hill Cemetery on July 26th. Little Joe was lost during our June 23rd presentation for the Land Trust of Huntsville and North Alabama . He was harassed by the local bird population for the rest of the day and was too spooked to fly down to us. I (John) returned the next day and located him where he had roosted. Unfortunately, the Blue Jays and Robins were still after him and after two hours, I lost sight of him. He is wearing his leather jesse straps, an ID tag, and a bell, but not a transmitter, which would have helped us find him. The local Huntsville media has been great at helping us spread the word. After several weeks of sporadic sighting, several residents of the neighborhood saw him and Hallie Davenport of the Land Trust got within 5-10 feet of him. I went to Huntsville after our last show on Saturday and searched the area until dark. After a search all day Sunday (Dale joined me in the afternoon) revealed nothing, we had to abandon our efforts at dark. He is still in the vicinity and we hope to be able to get close enough to entice him with a savory rat or mouse. If you see Little Joe, call us at 423-605-8908 or 423-605-8917. Thanks to everyone who has helped us so far!

John (and Dale)

p.s. special thanks to Falconer Curt Cearley who has been running down all the possible sightings!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Peregrine Release Delayed


The Peregrine Falcon released scheduled for today has been postponed until 8/2/10 due to the fact that the smaller Peregrine, Ted, has lagged behind in development compared to his brother, Zenith. They will both be fitted with transmitters and leg bands on Sunday afternoon, 8/1/10 and will be liberated early Monday morning.

Dale and John

Monday, July 12, 2010

Peregrines arrive at Rock City


Today, we received two male Anatum Peregrine Falcons from falcon breeder Andy Kramer of Minnesota. Two years ago, we got the male Peregrine "Rocky" from Andy and now we have the latest two. The birds are 30 days old and will be held in a "hack" box for two full weeks. The birds will be fed without human contact and will continue their growth and development. At 40-45 days of age, the young falcons will be fully grown. After two weeks, the birds will be fitted with Federal leg bands and radio transmitters so we can track their movements after release. On the morning of July 28th, the front door of the box will be opened before dawn and the birds will be able to liberate themselves at their leisure. This year's release is about two weeks earlier than our last two, so we are hopeful that the birds will stay in the area longer. It is our hope that these birds will return to the Lookout Mountain area to nest. So far, we have released three Peregrines: Garnet and Frieda in 2006 and Rocky in 2008. This year's project is fully funded by Rock City and we are most thankful to them for the support! Stay tuned for more news...

Dale and John

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


We are now at Rock City for the Summer doing our sixth season of the Rock City Raptors Birds of Prey Shows We are at the "Rock" Thursday-Sunday through Labor Day and our show times are at 11, 1, and 3 p.m. EDT with an additional 4:30 show on Saturday( in July, we will be doing presentations July 1st-11th). We finally have Theo, the Barn Owl, free flying in our shows. So, if you get a chance, come on up to the cooler side of Lookout Mountain and catch Theo and the other birds. Also, we are currently booking programs for Fall/Winter 2010-11. If you want to schedule a program call 706-657-3278 or e-mail at Thanks!

Dale and John

Monday, April 26, 2010

Upcoming Programs-May 2010


We have several upcoming public programs in May. The first stop is at Dunbar Cave State Park, Clarksville, Tennessee for their annual Spring Fling. The date is May 1st and we have programs at 10:00 and 12:40 CDT. The next day, we are at Russell Cave National Monument near Stevenson, Alabama. Our program is part of the Native American Festival and will be conducted at 1:00 CDT. The next weekend on May 8th, we will be in Altoona, Alabama for Altoona Days with two programs, the first at 11:45 CDT and the second at 2:45. The programs will be at the Altoona First United Methodist Church on 6th Avenue next to the Exchange Bank. Just look for the gym and that's where we will be. This program is sponsored in part by Wild South . At the end of the month, Memorial Day Weekend, we return to Rock City for our sixth season of Rock City Raptors Come and see us at one of these events. Thanks!

Dale and John

p.s. photos by Debbie Boen, Friends of Dunbar Cave

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bonnie the Peregrine and Earth Dayz

Hello Everyone,

We recently acquired a new bird. Her name is Bonnie and she is a Peregrine Falcon. She is of the anatum subspecies, which is the Peregrine that has been historically found in the continental U.S. This Peregrine subspecies was greatly impacted by DDT pesticide and by the early 1970's was nearly extirpated from the Lower 48 states. The Peregrine Fund was started by Dr. Tom Cade of Cornell University and several other falconers who decided to try to save the Anatum Peregrine Falcon through a captive breeding and release program. It has been a huge success and the Peregrine is now nesting again at many locations across the U.S. This species has been part of a small release program we have had a Rock City. Peregrines have nested in the Chattanooga area, but about three years ago, the male of the breeding pair was found injured and ultimately died. We hope to aid in the re-establishment of Peregrines in this area by releasing more of these speedy predators. This is one of the reasons we acquired Bonnie. She was donated to us by a Falconer named Christopher Lynn. He had her as a breeding bird and last year, she laid four eggs. Unfortunately, they were not fertile and not too long after this, someone broke into Chris' facility and released Bonnie's mate. Bonnie came from the Peregrine Fund which removed her out of a wild nest as a youngster. Nest site observers noticed that she seemed to have a problem with her left eye. Someone was sent to check her in the nest and sure enough, she had trauma to her eye and was removed. Her chances for her wild survival were very slim, since she would have been handicapped in her hunting ability. We will, at first, use Bonnie in our upcoming shows at Rock City. Hopefully, by the end of the summer, we will be able to find a mate for her and get them into a breeding situation. Stayed tuned...

On Friday, April 2nd, we will be at Rock City for their Second Annual Earth Dayz event We will conduct our shows every weekend in April. To quote Kim Jackson, Rock City's Special Events Coordinator: "Earth Dayz (Fridays-Sundays in April, excluding 4/30)) will be a value add event for our Spring break guests that will include the Birds of Prey show at Critter Classroom (11am, 1pm & 3pm) , an artist-in-residence interactive sculpture experience outside the Pavilion and a hands-on recycling/planting activity at the Lovers Leap stage (11am-4pm). In addition to these free activities, the following activities will be available during the event (for an additional charge): RockQuest Adventure package, climbing wall, and panning for gems." Come on up and join us in April.
A quick note, we had a great time in Wabasha, Minnesota at the National Eagle Center's Soar with the Eagles Weekend The folks had us doing programs in a school gymnasium (as opposed to an outdoor tent), the weather was nice, with temps on Sunday reaching 50 degrees (as opposed to -10 degrees two years ago). We had great attendance for our four presentations and the people at the NEC were wonderful. We hope they'll invite us back (hint, hint) for this event in the future. If you are in SE Minnesota, check out the Eagle Center and stop by Slippery's Bar, where part of the movie, Grumpy Old Men, was filmed.
We still have a few slots open for programs this spring (not too many). If you wish to schedule a program this Spring or for the Fall/Winter 2010-11 please call us at 706-657-3278 or e-mail us at Thanks!
Dale and John

Monday, February 15, 2010

Programs-March & April 2010


We have two upcoming public programs in March. We first travel to the frosty North and will be in Wabasha, Minnesota at the National Eagle Center's Soar With The Eagles Weekend on March 6th and 7th. Our shows this year will be INSIDE! In 2008, we were in an outdoor tent, which would have been fine, except the heaters did not arrive as scheduled. It was -3 degrees outside and 5 degrees in the tent. We did a program for about 450 school children...coldest we've ever been doing a show. The birds did well, however. This year, we will be at the St. Felix school gymnasium, heat and all with programs on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Central Time and on Sunday at 12 and 2 p.m. Next, we travel south and warm up a bit for a program at Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge near Decatur, Alabama. The program will be on March 13th at 2:00 Central Time at the Visitors Center. We will be at Rock City in April for the Second Annual Earth Dayz We will have shows on weekends, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11, 1, and 3 p.m. EST . We hope to see you at one of these presentations! If you want to book a program for March-May this year, we still have some dates open (except weekend in April). Give us a call at 706-657-3278 or e-mail Thanks!
Dale and John
photo: Dale and Atsa Yazhi in balmy , Minnesota, Wabasha in March 2008

Friday, January 29, 2010

I have finally posted a video of the shows in August. I combined videos of both shows for a 5.5 minute highlight video. We hope that you enjoy it, and have a great 2010 ! John and Dale