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Raptor lovers from New Mexico and surrounding states are preparing for the annual trek to OspreyFest at Heron Lake State Park in north central New Mexico, scheduled this year for Friday-Sunday.
The fledge of osprey chicks resulting from the return of more than 20 nesting pairs of osprey to Heron and El Vado Lakes is cause for celebration, with parks’ visitors treated to a a bird’s eye view of flight training from vantage points in campgrounds and along the park roads.
OspreyFest kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday at the Heron Lake State Park Visitor Center with live uncaged raptors meeting bird and nature lovers of all ages, at the combination welcome reception and birthday party.
The feathered guest of honor is Electra, a five-year-old female osprey rescued by NORA, from a burnt power pole in Tierra Amarilla in 2006. Electra was rehabilitated by The Wildlife Center of Española and has been a crowd-pleaser ever since. This event is a fundraiser and tickets for attendees 12 years and older are $25 per person, available at the door.
The Saturday program includes exhibitors, demonstration booths, guided nature walks, fee workshops on digital photography and birdhouse building and a storytelling session for the very young at heart.
A particular favorite is the annual Water Safari, with reservations-only departures from the Ridge Rock event center dock throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday. Local guides and amateur osprey experts will point out hard-to-find nests and talk about the history of Heron Lake. All seats are $20.
At 7 p.m. Saturday, Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, will make a miraculous appearance at the Ridge Rock Event Center and share his now-legendary insights on wildlife and the environment.
Capping the evening events, and weather permitting, at 8:30 p.m. State Parks Interpretive Ranger and amateur astronomer Peter Lipscomb will conduct his Star Party tour of the heavens.
A day use pass, which costs $5 per vehicle is required for non-campers who are not members of The Friends of Heron and El Vado Lakes State Parks. For more information visit ospreyfest.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave your contact information at 800-605-2411.