Eagles and Ag offers sky-high experience | RecordCourier.com

Eagles and Ag offers sky-high experience

Carson Valley is home to 89 different species of birds in the winter, according to expert birder Jim Woods, and more than 200 tourists saw quite a few of those species during the 15th annual Eagles and Agriculture event.

Eagles and Agriculture is Carson Valley's celebration of ranching and wildlife. The event features birding and ranch tours, photography workshops and guided hikes spread over four days, offering a behind–the-scenes look into ranching and opportunities for nature lovers to get up close to eagles, owls, raptors and other wildlife.

Typically held in February, experience showed organizers there are more eagles in the Valley in January.

"The event was moved forward to coincide with what we've observed to be the height of eagle activity over the last few winters," said Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce Director Bill Chernock.

The opening reception and photography exhibit Thursday at the Douglas County Community and senior center kicked off the event. The exhibit featured the work of area wildlife photographers and visits from several falconers and their birds, who were available for up-close viewing.

"It was so cool to see the birds up close," said Carson City resident Jacqueline Pursell. "It was really exciting."

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This year was Pursell's first time participating in the event. She said she found out about it through a Carson Valley events magazine she saw at work.

"It seemed like so much fun, I was really excited about it and plan to return every year," she said.

Friday and Saturday participants toured area ranches where they learned about Carson Valley ranching and conservation and had the opportunity to view and photograph eagles, hawks, owls and other birds of prey.

Sparks resident Lurana Caniclla was on the Saturday tour with her granddaughter, Tabi Davis.

"It's really a fantastic event," said Cancilla. "You can come on your own and tour the area, but it's really great to come and participate in the event with the experts."

Cancilla has attended the event three years in a row. The first two times she participated in just a few of the events. This year she decided to take advantage of the weekend and participate in as much as she could.

"We got up close to some falcons and the falconers were on hand to answer questions," she said. "You will never do that on your own. The opportunities this event provides and the connections made are worth it. It really is a great event, both educational and enjoyable."

Helen and Ed Salas recently moved from the Bay area to Gardnerville. They said they participated in the weekend to get to know the Valley and learn about agriculture in the area they now call home.

"It's great to get out and learn about the area and the agriculture," she said. "We learned that 11 acres of land, if not more, is untouchable and that made my heart sing."

It was a good weekend for birding and agriculture, Chernock said.

"When you send buses out on a tour and the totals from the viewers come back with 16 eagles spotted, that's a success," said Chernock.

Eagles and Agriculture is a joint project between the chamber, the Lahontan Audubon Society, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Western Nevada Resource Conservation District, The Nature Conservancy and the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service. For more information, visit carsonvalleynv.org or call 782-8144.