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East County News Service

January 4, 2015 (Ramona) –  Hawk Watch, a free celebration of raptors will take place at the Wildlife Research Institute in Ramona Grasslands at 10 a.m. each Saturday in January and February—rain or shine.   You can observe both wintering and resident raptors such as the Golden Eagle, Bald Eagle, Ferruginous Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Red-shouldered Hawk, and Burrowing Owl.

Nineteen species of raptors have been recorded at this “raptor hotspot,” where you will learn the life histories of these beautiful birds as well as the importance of the Ramona Grassland ecosystem from WRI biologists.  In addition to wild raptors, you will also see several trained raptors and owls up close.

WRI recommends that you arrive by 9:30.  Bring binoculars if you have them, though scopes will be available.  Refreshments, coffee, rolls and doughnuts will also be provided at this event, which is free and open to the public.

The event takes place on Begent Ranch at the Ramona Grasslands, 18528 Highland Valley Road, one mile west of the intersection of Highway 67 and Highland Valley Road.   From San Diego, take Highway 67 north to Ramona, then turn north (left) onto Highland Valley Road for one mile; Hawk Watch will be on your left. 

Wildlife Research Institute is a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to wildlife research, conservation, and education. The orgnaization has conducted research on wildlife locally for 28 years. 

The organization's director, Dave Bittner, fomrlery WRI president, weathere controversy in 2013, when he was fined for an unlawful taking of a golden eagle and ordered to turn over data he gathered on birds for energy companies to federal wildlife officials.

More recently, the Wildlife Institute has become involved in efforts to  ban rodenticides that harm wildlife and to organizeefforts to ask legislators to create wildlife bridges over freeways o protect mountain lions. Wildlife Research Institute also leads wilidfe photography adventures including a gray whale expedition in Baja California, a bear viewing trip to Alaska, and a Montana wildlife viewing expedition coming up.

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