Daily Archives: January 2, 2013

Kansas Eagle Days

January is the month to view the nation’s symbol in Kansas

The sight of a bald eagle soaring across a cerulean winter sky can inspire even the most casual observer. For those who enjoy viewing birds, though, it can be an adrenaline-rushing experience. And the good news is bald eagles are common in Kansas during the winter, if you know where to look.

America’s symbol, the bald eagle, has traveled a long road from a prominent member on the Threatened and Endangered Species List, to a species fully recovered and taken off the list. In the early 1960s, less than 450 breeding pairs were known to nest in the lower 48 states. In the 1990s, that number had grown to more than 4,500. In Kansas, one bald eagle nest was documented in 1989, but in 2011, nearly 60 nests were documented and more than 80 eaglets were fledged.

But it’s during the winter when viewing bald eagles is best in Kansas. They begin showing up along major river courses and reservoirs in December and January when ice and snow conditions in northern states make feeding difficult. Primary food items in winter include waterfowl, fish and carrion.

You can just drive to the nearest river or reservoir to view eagles. Look for them roosting in tall trees along the shoreline, especially near open water or large concentrations of waterfowl. Or you can attend one of the organized eagle viewing events which include educational programs and often live raptors on display.

On Jan. 19, Eagle Day at Milford Lake will begin at 9 a.m. at the Milford Nature Center. Programs featuring live raptors begin at 9:30 a.m. and are repeated throughout the day. Bus tours will depart from the nature center parking lot during the day, with the last tour departing at 3:30 p.m.

The annual Kaw Valley Eagle Day, sponsored by the Jayhawk Audubon Society, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Unified School District 497, will be conducted on Jan. 19 in Lawrence. It’s an event for the whole family featuring hands-on educational and fun activities for kids. Visithttp://www.kawvalleyeaglesday.com for more information.

On Jan. 26, the 12th Annual Eagle Day will be conducted at Wyandotte County Park in Kansas City. Two live eagle presentations will be conducted at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at Schlagle Library and bird presentations will take place every hour starting at 10 a.m. in Davis Hall. The library will have eagle crafts for kids and trained spotters to help visitors view wild birds.

For more information or to download a park map, please visit http://www.kckpl.org or call 913-299-2384.

Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission to Meet in El Dorado

Afternoon workshop items include big game and turkey hunting regulations

The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will conduct a public meeting and hearing on Thursday, Jan. 10, at Butler County Community College, Clifford/Stone Community Room, 

901 Haverhill Rd.El Dorado

. The afternoon session will begin at 1:30 p.m. and recess at 5 p.m., and the evening session will begin at 7 p.m.

The afternoon session will begin with time for public comments on non-agenda items, followed by a general discussion period on the following topics: Secretary’s remarks about agency and state fiscal status, 2013 legislature, drawing for Commission Big Game Permits and public land regulations.

The afternoon will also include a workshop session, in preparation for potential regulatory action, covering preliminary recommendations on regulations dealing with agritourism, camping and utility fees, deer, antelope, elk and fall turkey.

The commission will recess at 5 p.m., then reconvene at 7 p.m. at the same location for the evening session, which will include a report on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services proposed ruling on listing of the lesser prairie chicken and upland bird regulations. Public hearing items include K.A.R. 115-09-8, migratory bird harvest program and K.A.R. 115-14-14, which deals with falconry; taking, banding, transporting and possessing raptors.

Time will be available in both the afternoon and evening sessions for public comment on topics not on the agenda. If necessary, the commission will reconvene at the same location at 9 a.m., Jan. 11, to complete unfinished business.

Live video and audio streaming of this meeting will be broadcast through the KDWPT website, ksoutdoors.com.

If notified in advance, the department will have an interpreter available for the hearing impaired. To request an interpreter, call the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 1-800-432-0698. Any individual with a disability may request other accommodations by contacting the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission secretary at 620-672-5911.

The next commission meeting is scheduled for March 21, 2013 in Topeka.

Thank a Landowner Today

If you’re a hunter, angler or wildlife watcher, the holiday season is an important time to extend thanks to landowners who share access to their land, says Troy Schroeder, Kansas Wildlife Federation President.

“Access to private land is a privilege provided to us through the generosity of the landowner,” says Schroeder. “And with more than 95% of Kansas in private ownership, we need to make sure that these landowners really know how much you appreciate them allowing you access to hunt, fish or watch wildlife on their property.”

A few ways to say thanks to landowners:

* Visit the landowner to express your appreciation, and, if possible, share some of your harvest or a favorite wildlife photograph from your time on their property.

* Send a personal note or holiday card to the landowner, thanking them for sharing their land.

* Send a gift basket or gift certificate to a local restaurant.

* Help them protect their property by documenting and reporting suspicious activities to Operation Game Thief at 877-426-3843.

* Offer to help with outdoor tasks, or to clean up and properly dispose of illegally dumped materials left on their property.

If you are mentoring a young hunter or angler, be sure to include them in thanking the landowner – it’s a great lesson for them to learn!

Remember – the tradition of hunting in Kansas will only continue if we all follow the basic principle of landowner relations: Treat the landowner as you would like to be treated and treat their land as you would like yours to be treated.