Eagles and agriculture kicks off on Friday

Cows are having calves and eagles are looking for an afterbirth breakfast in Carson Valley.

An opportunity to spot an eagle or other raptors has filled more than 170 seats on tours for the eighth annual Eagles and Agriculture.

Western Nevada Resource Conservation and Development Coordinator Dan Kaffer said there are plenty of eagles in the Valley.

"It's looking pretty good out there," Kaffer said. "On Saturday I was at Clarence Burr's and there were eight eagles. Along Highway 88 we've seen as many as 11 at one time near the Dangberg Home Ranch. (James) Settelmeyer has a handful out at Highway 395. Calving is at its peak. I'm really excited there's lots of birds of prey."

While the tour buses are full, there are seats available at the annual banquet, in the photography workshop, and in the annual kayak tour along the river.

Kaffer said Friday's banquet will feature ranchers, bird people and 14 different displays.

"It's a perfect overview," he said. "There will be a live falcon and live eagle inside the Carson Valley Inn. You can learn all the different aspects of agriculture, and birding."

The photo workshop has only a few spots left, which Kaffer recommended for shutter bugs.

"It's a fabulous opportunity to learn about photograph," he said. "The instructor actually teaches you how to use your digital camera for wildlife photography."

Kaffer said organizers will be handing out a list of local food producers, so residents can support local agriculture.

Anyone interested in participating in the remaining events should contact the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce at 782-8144.

The bus tours filled up fast with about 190 people participating in the main tour, according to Chamber Director Bill Chernock. The owl prowl has 53 participants, and two smaller tours of 16 people each dealing with raptors other than eagles, also filled up.

"We've settled on a number between accommodating most of the people who want to join us and keeping a high-quality experience, not just for the people on the tour, but for the ranchers and birders," Chernock said. "It gives them time to provide good information."

Chernock said the event brings together many aspects of Valley life.

"It combines a lot of different threads in Carson Valley," he said. "It combines the importance of agriculture, the importance of ranchers maintaining habitat, the importance of protecting wildlife, and the importance of educating people, whether they live here or come to visit, about how all of these things are coming together."

Kaffer said the tour allows residents and visitors to connect to the Valley's agricultural heritage.

"Eagles and agriculture is a celebration of the bounty of agriculture in Carson Valley and the wildlife that depends on that," Kaffer said.

Kaffer thanked the volunteers who make the event possible, especially the ranchers.


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