Birds of prey exhibit to come to Clovis

Courtesy photo The bald eagle is one of eight species of birds coming to Clovis with the American Eagle Foundation’s Save Our American Raptors program.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Clovis residents will get a chance to learn about America’s birds of prey up close.

They’ll even have an opportunity to see the birds fly.

“We’re kind of giving a biology lesson while interacting with the birds. We teach people where the birds are, what they eat, how to identify them. There’s video and music while we let the birds fly. It’s a complete sensory experience,” co-director Dale Kernahan-Stokes said.

The American Eagle Foundation’s Save Our American Raptors educational program is coming to Clovis Wednesday with the help of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Lodge 3245.

SOAR is a non-profit bird of prey environmental education organization.

The lodge won the opportunity to bring the show to Clovis at an international Eagle convention last August, according to area Eagle Secretary Gerald Willett.

“How many people today have seen a live eagle? We didn’t think too many so we thought people would be interested in this,” he said.

Kernahan-Stokes said that the program doesn’t often travel as far as New Mexico from its base in Georgia. But Kernahan-Stokes and her husband and co-director, John, are bringing eight birds with them on the 18-hour drive.

Kernahan-Stokes said they will be bringing a bald eagle, red-tailed hawk, Harris’s hawk, American kestrel, barred owl, black vulture, and two screech owls.

“The vulture is everyone’s favorite. She’s a character,” Kernahan-Stokes said.

Kernahan-Stokes and her husband have almost 50 years of experience with birds of prey. Kernahan-Stokes has a masters in biology and incorporates it into the program.

Kernahan-Stokes said the duo stage about 2,000 programs a year, mostly in the eastern part of the country.

“We want to raise more awareness about birds of prey, and also our environment. We help people be a little more aware of what’s around them.

“People look at birds and they don’t know what they’re looking at and there’s not a lot of interest. This way, they get to see them close up and they interact with them,” she said. “Maybe afterward they will pay more attention to everything around them.”