WV DNR News Release

1 - General News
2 - Hunting News
3 - Fishing News
4 - Law Enforcement News
5 - Parks News

Joe Manchin III, Governor
Frank Jezioro, Director

News Release : April 9, 2009

 Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer (304) 558-2003 ext. 365 hoy.r.murphy@wv.gov

Jim Phillips, Naturalist, Pipestem Resort State Park, (304) 466-1800

“Wings of Wonder” – A live birds of prey program offered at West Virginia’s state parks

            Twister the barn owl and Spirit the golden eagle serve as educational subjects in the “Wings of Wonder” – A Birds of Prey program series at West Virginia State Parks. These birds and others appear live with Ron and Wendy Perrone of Three Rivers Avian Center to introduce various birds and share aspects of each species. The presentation includes information about the incredible abilities of raptors, their differences, and how connected birds are with the ecosystems they live in.

            Three Rivers Avian Center (TRAC) will visit 12 West Virginia state parks and forests during the summer of 2009 as part of a special summer program series, according to Jim Phillips, Naturalist at Pipestem Resort State Park. “It is difficult to express in words the thrill it is to see eagles and other birds of prey in the wild. They are simply majestic whether you’re sighting raptors on our eagle watches, listening to the ‘hoot’ of a barred owl or if you are a very fortunate person, to observe a barn owl in its habitat. Guests to our parks and forests are in for a treat to see these creatures at close range and learn more about them. It helps when you’re out hiking or perhaps in your yard and you hear the cry of a hawk. You have a better understanding,” says Phillips.

            Phillips conducts eagle surveys as part of his interpretative programming at Pipestem Resort, in addition to leading bird walks and conducting nature workshops. January and March surveys confirm that at least 10 bald eagles and six golden eagles of varying ages were sighted in the observed area this winter and, according to the Perrones, “are almost daily in the Pipestem-Bluestone area.”  Sightings are also confirmed at Hawks Nest State Park.  Eagle survey summaries are posted on Pipestem’s Web site: www.pipestemresort.com.

            Three Rivers Avian Center is scheduled to present “Wings of Wonder” - Birds of Prey at these West Virginia state parks and forests.

Twin Falls  Friday 6/12/2009
Bluestone   Friday 6/19/2009
Watoga Saturday 6/20/2009
Pipestem  Thursday 7/09/2009
Greenbrier Friday 7/10/2009
Hawks Nest Saturday 7/11/2009
Blackwater Falls Friday 7/17/2009
Holly River Saturday 7/18/2009
Cedar Creek Friday 7/24/2009
Cacapon Friday 8/07/2009
Lost River Saturday 8/08/2009
North Bend Friday 8/14/2009

            An event organized by TRAC, “Migration Celebration” is a unique festival designed to interest the public in West Virginia’s birds and natural heritage. The annual Migration Celebration is held at Little Beaver State Park near Beckley, W.Va., on the second Saturday in May (International Migratory Bird Day) with the active support of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, the West Virginia Department of Agriculture Insect Survey, the National Park Service - New River Gorge National River, West Virginia falconers, birders, photographers, storytellers, and others.

            Special summer programs at West Virginia state parks are open to the public at no charge.  Times vary and should be confirmed with individual area. For more information about special programs, click on Park Programs at www.wvstateparks.com.

Why outdoor education works

            TRAC started presenting programs in West Virginia State Parks in 1993, and became part of the Special Summer Series in 1995.

            According to Wendy Perrone, TRAC Executive Director, “In June of 2000, we presented a program at Berwind Lake in McDowell County. Since the area is well visited for its great fishing opportunities, part of the program focused on the effects on wildlife (and others) of abandoned tangles of fishing line left hanging in trees, brush and in the water. Some of the injuries seen here at TRAC are from fishing line entanglements and many have been horrific. A few of the stories and some involving the ultimate death of birds were shared with the audience during the program. At the end of the program, as we were talking informally with visitors and local residents, a little girl broke away from the crowd and ran over to a nearby tree that was leaning out over the water. She returned, came up to me and triumphantly handed me a piece of tangled fishing line, complete with bobber that had been hanging in the tree. She announced that she and her friends would be collecting fishing line ‘from now on!’ We still have that bobber in the TRAC van.”

About: Three Rivers Avian Center (TRAC)

            Three Rivers Avian Center (TRAC) is a private 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to wild bird conservation and to educating and involving people in ecosystem stewardship. Founded in 1990, TRAC’s 103 acre facility is located in the southern portion of the New River Gorge National River, between Sandstone and Hinton in Summers County, West Virginia.  TRAC Executive Director Wendy Perrone is a graduate of Guilford College, TRAC Education Director Ron Perrone is a graduate of West Virginia University.  Wendy currently serves as the New River Gorge Peregrine Restoration Coordinator, a five-year effort to reestablish peregrine falcon populations in their native southern Appalachian haunts. The Perrones are involved in many interpretative based organizations, wildlife rehabilitation organizations and assist conservation agencies as appropriate.

            The public is invited to public tour days at Three Rivers Avian Center, held the first Saturday of each month May – October from 1 - 5 p.m. Other tours are scheduled by appointment only. TRAC is near Bluestone and Pipestem Resort state parks.  For more information about Three Rivers Avian Center, call (304) 466-4683 or visit www.tracwv.org.