Global Internet sensation to land at Kirkwood

Kirkwood Community College
Published: September 25 2012 | 12:29 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 12:59 am in
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You’ve seen them from before they were born. Now, hear their story.

Bob Anderson, the director of the Raptor Research Project, will speak about the world famous Decorah, Iowa, Bald Eagle Cam, in a free presentation at Kirkwood Community College, on Monday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. in Ballantyne Auditorium.

Anderson will share insights from the young eagles in Decorah, growing from newly hatched babies to fledglings on the wing. He will address new information on eagle behavior and talk about solar-powered satellite transmitters placed on young eagles and other birds across the country. Last year, more than 200 million viewers from 184 countries watched the eagle cam in Decorah.

An avid falconer, Anderson trapped his first raptor, a Red-tailed hawk, in 1960. He started working with raptors professionally in 1971, while employed at the Science Museum of Minnesota. At that time, many species were in decline and several, including the Peregrine Falcon and Bald Eagle, were threatened with extinction. Anderson began breeding Peregrine Falcons for release and recovery efforts, producing many of the first Peregrine Falcons to be released in the Midwest.

Anderson pioneered a program to attract falcons to utility company smoke stacks, launched a controversial breeding and release program to return falcons to Mississippi river cliffs, and led a team of volunteer observers and climbers to monitor and band birds of prey on stacks, cliffs, water towers and other high places.

Anderson's future plans include a pilot kestrel recovery program, the addition of more cliff-mounted nest boxes along the Mississippi river, and five more bird-viewing cameras: two Peregrine cams, a turkey vulture cam, a Red-tailed hawk cam and a Screech owl cam. Although Anderson has expanded far beyond his original intent of breeding and releasing Peregrine falcons, he remains dedicated to telling its story.

"The peregrine's near extinction and recovery sends a message that we can make a difference. I can't imagine a more important message to give people, especially young people, today,” Anderson said.

This free event is sponsored by Linn County Connections. Connections is a consortium of natural science departments from Cornell College, Coe College, Mount Mercy University, Kirkwood Community College, Kennedy High School and the United Nations, plus a number of natural resource and environmental groups from Linn County.

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