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Starry Nights, Real Raptors programs in Vail

Daily Staff ReportVail CO, Colorado
HL Raptor Photo Extra TS 07-03-08
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VAIL Two new programs debut this month in Vail. Vails Starry Nights and Real Raptors and Their Stories are free for everyone and will enable participants to learn something new each week.Vails Starry Nights, featuring speakers from Fiske Planetarium at the University of Colorado at Boulder, takes place at the Vail Nature Center each Saturday from through Aug. 30. As sunset varies, during July the program will take place from 8:45 to 9:45 p.m. During August, it will take place from 8 to 9 p.m. Guests at Vails Starry Nights will learn the science and tales of the infinite mountain sky from faculty members and graduate students from the Department of Astrophysical & Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder, all while indulging in smores by the camp fire. Participants will also pinpoint stars and planets via lasers. This Saturday, Julia DeMarines, professional research assistant for the New World Observer mission, will discuss astrobiology and the possibility of life in outer space.This type of study really puts your imagination to the test, DeMarines said. It combines science-fiction with reality. Well be discussing the idea that there is a real possibility that there is life on other planets. For example: Jupiter has moons that have the potential to be habitable, but what elements do we need? The New World Observer mission is working towards the ability to image Earth-like planets and produce images of planets that have similar characteristics to Earth. Well be able to see the blue of water, for example, if its out there. Its a really exciting time. Is there life out there? What does it look like? Is there the chance that we might make contact? These are questions that were trying to answer, DeMarines said.

DatePresenterTopicSaturdayJulia DeMarinesAstrobiology July 19Adam Ginsburg Star-Forming Regions July 26Dr. John BallyBirth of Stars and PlanetsAug. 2Matt BenjaminCelestial Navigation Aug. 9Dr. John StockeNative American Star Knowledge Aug. 16Nicholas NelsonGetting to Know Your Galaxy Aug. 23Bonnie Meinke Native American Constellations Aug. 30Gwen EcclesStories in the Sky

Wednesday (Full Moon week)Birds: Owls Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, Burrowing OwlOwls Myths, legends and folklore:Owls have captivated the imagination of humans and have a lot of falsities surrounding them. Explore the myths, legends and folklore of different species of owl, as well as the truth about owls. July 23Birds: Great Horned Owl, Red-tailed Hawk, American KestrelNiche Switch Day & Night Birds Share the ResourcesA niche is the specific habitat supplying the factors necessary for the existence of an organism or species. In many species the niche is shared during different times of the day. Diurnal (daytime) birds will use the niche during sunlight and after dark the nocturnal (nighttime) birds take over the niche. Explore the birds that share the same resource.July 30Birds: Falcons American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Prairie FalconFalcons of Colorado Built for SpeedFalcons are specialized hunters and speed is on their side. This program explores the different species, habitat, hunting techniques and aerodynamics of flight of falcons. From the smallest falcon of North America and the fastest bird on earth (in a dive), the program shares what makes them the most speedy and interesting of the raptors. You will also learn how to identify them in the wild.Aug. 6Birds: Hawks – Swainsons Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Ferruginous HawkHawks of Colorado Soar Above the RestThese broad-wing soaring hawks of Colorado are effortless, graceful in the sky and strong and powerful on the hunt. They vary in size and season in which they live in our beautiful state. The program will discuss the survival and hunting techniques and learn the field markings to know how to identify these soaring beauties. Aug. 13Birds: Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, Burrowing OwlThe Secret World of OwlsOwls are wondrous raptors and excellent hunters. Their nocturnal activity has shrouded them in mystery. We will unlock the door to the secret lives of owls and learn about Owling by Ear. This will give participants the ability to decipher the calls of the owl.Aug. 20Birds: Rocky Mountain Raptors -Golden Eagle, American Kestrel, Turkey Vulture Raptors of the Rocky MountainsA presentation of the Colorado Raptors that inhabit the Rock Mountains: what they eat, how they live and what concerns they have in regards to survival in our ever changing world and the challenges that they face in the future. Aug. 27Birds: Bald Eagle, Merlin, Rough-legged Hawk Season of MigrationFall signals the season of migration for many raptors. This is a winter residents program where we turn to winter and which raptors will stay or go. Real Raptors and Their Stories takes place on the Gore Creek Promenade, just east of the International Bridge each Wednesday from July 2 through Aug. 27 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Guests will be able to see Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles and Great Horned Owls and hear their stories, courtesy of the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program. In case of inclement weather, the rain location will be noted on signs at the International Bridge. Subjects and birds will change weekly. Please leave dogs at home.


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