Fly over to the Kansas Wetlands Education Center’s Great Migration Rally from 2 to 7 p.m., on April 13, for entertainment, prizes and food.
This year’s Rally features Falconer Nate Mathews and Isaiah, his golden eagle. Mathews, currently the only falconer in Kansas hunting with an eagle, will share the remarkable story of Isaiah’s capture, training, loss and recovery.
The main event – migrating through Cheyenne Bottoms to Barton Community College’s Camp Aldrich – begins after activities at KWEC. Several area businesses, artists and organizations have donated great prizes for those who migrate the most successfully with the highest point totals. Top prizes for adults are a trail camera package, a two-room suite at the Rodeway Inn and a pair of binoculars and for the kids, a 4-person tent, a pair of binoculars and fishing kit. Additional prizes include but aren’t limited to: tents, backpacks, fishing poles, ceramic pieces by Carol Long and Linda Gangstrom, artwork by Rob Penner and Bruce Bitter, lanterns, head lamps and gift certificates from restaurants, hotels and other businesses. The first 100 visitors receive a $5 gift card to a local business and a Migratory Bird Day poster. The first 50 kids receive a hat.
Participants begin the afternoon at the KWEC with activities, games and demonstrations. After choosing a card featuring a migratory bird worth points for prizes, participants set off on their migration, driving through Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve. At stops along the way, they receive situational cards, describing hazards or advantages encountered by “their” bird that subtract or add points. In addition, binoculars and spotting scopes will be available at one stop to view shorebirds. At the scenic overlook participants discover how Cheyenne Bottoms helped with the WW II war effort and at another stop meet Frank Robl, reenacted, whose bird banding records helped establish Cheyenne Bottoms as a wetlands of international importance.
At the migration destination, Camp Aldrich, Mathews and Isaiah provide their presentation. Dinner will be served to the Celtic and folk tunes of the musical trio, Tumnus, from Wichita.
Proceeds from the event go toward an outdoor play area. Tickets are $5 for adults, $2.50 for children ages 5-12 and free for children under age 5. Participants are asked to pre-register by calling the KWEC, 1-877-243-9268, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, by April 6. More information is available at wetlandscenter.fhsu.edu.