Native American Aviaries
Native American Aviaries at
Birds of Prey Northwest
(Near Coeur d’Alene, ID)—Birds of Prey Northwest and the Coeur d'Alene Tribe of north Idaho have jointly constructed two new aviaries for housing nonreleasable bald and golden eagles. After several years of collaboration and planning, the new Native American Aviaries at BOPNW have been permitted by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service for housing eagles with the sole purpose of the Tribe collecting feathers that the eagles naturally shed each year.
These collected feathers are important to the Coeur d'Alene Tribe’s culture and ceremonies, and the Tribe is the first in the western U.S. to obtain such a permit.
Jane Veltkamp, Birds of Prey NW’s founding director and raptor biologist, has been officially designated as eagle expert for the aviaries. She will manage all care of the eagles and train Tribal members who will assume care for the eagles in the future. Birds of Prey NW will maintain the Tribal aviaries on site at BOPNW until the Coeur d'Alene Tribe constructs its own aviaries on Tribal property. The first Tribal eagles to move into the initial Tribal aviaries in November 2016; as planned, they will be moved to the new aviaries near Plummer, ID, in November, 2018.
Eagles that cannot be released back into the wild, due to permanent injury or disabling illness, can still live many years in captivity, some reaching the age of 50. The Native American Aviaries will provide an eagle conservation measure, and a new means for Tribal members to legally obtain eagle feathers. In past, the Tribe has had to depend on receiving feathers from the country’s only eagle repository, in Colorado.
FOUND AN INJURED BIRD? 208- 245-1367 or 208-582-0797
or Idaho Fish and Game at: 208-769-1414
A Conversation About the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s Eagle Aviary
The Service is very excited to have the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Eagle Aviary here in the Pacific Region. To learn more about the aviary and the Tribe’s perspective on what it took to open an aviary, we spoke with Cameron Heusser, Wildlife Program Manager for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe.
I think the biggest question out there has to be why. Why did the Tribe take this incredible step and open an eagle aviary?
The Tribe has a strong cultural link to eagles, and we have always had an interest in keeping injured local eagles on the Reservation. When Janie Veltkamp moved Birds of Prey Northwest to St. Maries in the mid 2000’s, we finally had a local rehabilitator, and a way to keep local eagles nearby. However, their feathers had to be collected and sent far away to be distributed to Native American Tribes nationwide. From working with Janie for several years, we came to realize that there was another option to keep these eagles and their feathers for Coeur d’Alene Tribal members, and that with her help we could make it happen.
To learn more about the aviary and the Tribe’s perspective,
Birds of Prey Northwest can help your Tribe set up an official US Fish and Wildlife Service approved aviary.
Those interested in Native American Aviaries need to contact the US Fish and Wildlife Service permitting authority in their region to obtain proper permits and guidelines.
For more information on how BoPNW started the process, contact us (208) 582 0797
For more information on the Coeur d’ Alene tribe,
Please visit: www.cdatribe-nsn.gov
Native American Resource
On November 30th, 2016
The newly US Fish and Wildlife-permitted Coeur d'Alene Tribal Aviaries received the first eagles to be placed within the structures, one aviary for golden eagles and one for bald eagles. On that day, an adult bald eagle and two immature golden eagles were released into the structure by Nate Albrecht - biologist with CDA Tribe, and Don and Janie Veltkamp - BOPNW Board members.