Years ago when I first heard the term Raptor; I immediately imagined malicious, human hunting dinosaurs from Jurassic Park! Of course, I quickly learned this was a term used for birds of prey. If birds of prey aren’t as spine tingling as extinct monsters for you, then you need only spend a few minutes with Steve Alsup, president of the Birds of Prey NCA Partnership. Steve’s enthusiasm and passion for his work is contagious and will have you appreciating these apex, feathered predators. He’s taken on the role of President for a new non-profit that functions as a friends group for the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey NCA.

Although a Louisiana native, Steve Alsup studied Raptor Biology at Boise State University. While his love of predatory birds is apparent, it wasn’t always his intended career path.

“I thought I was going to do something with reptiles,” Steve thoughtfully recalls. “Growing up, I would play in the woods catching frogs, snakes, and reptiles. But when I went off to college, and my Professor of Herpetology (study of reptiles and amphibians) quit, I needed to find something else.”

That something else evolved into Steve earning his B.S. in Zoology from Louisiana State University and his M.S. at Boise State University. Now, he’s taking his extensive knowledge to spearhead managing Birds of Prey NCA Partnership.

Volunteers from Boise State University assisting in a native plant restoration effort in the NCA.

The NCA (Natural Conservation Area), which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, was founded by Congress in 1993 and is celebrating its 25th Anniversary throughout 2018. On Thursday 2/1/2018, a kick off party for NCA will be held downtown at JUMP Boise starting at 5pm: https: //www.facebook.com/events/171028386982433/. There will be free food, live music by “Free Peoples,” live raptors performing for educational purposes (all birds of the NCA), and free beer. Steve will be there with his own booth and encourages patrons to become acquainted with the NCA and their upcoming goals and projects. If you can’t make it to the event, then feel free to join Eyes On Conservations Live feed at 5pm MST covered by Matthew Podolsky as he observes the Live Raptors and meets with Steve and other vendors: https://www.facebook.com/EyesOnConservation/

Map of the NCA (Green Patch)

 

Steve is thrilled to share their mission: To support the management and conservation of the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds Of Prey National Conservation Area through science, education, outreach, and partnerships.

But Steve doesn’t want people to just talk about the NCA, he wants them to join in their adventures! The NCA will be inviting people on interpretive hikes, habitation restoration projects, trash clean ups, and other projects. Events will be scheduled and posted throughout the year on: https://www.facebook.com/BirdsofPreyNCAPartnership/

During our discussion, I asked Steve what made the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area so special. Steve immediately lit up once the question was posed. He explained that in the late 70’s it was apparent the area was unique with its rich biodiversity, abundant nesting sights, small mammals for prey, and has one of the densest populations of nesting raptors. There are more than 700 pairs of raptors, which equals 15 different species. It’s also unique to Idaho as very few other states can boast such abundant raptor, small mammal, and badger populations. It also harbors astounding Native American petroglyphs and archaeological sites. Nature and bird enthusiasts from around the US observe the NCA as a top destination. For us Idaho Natives, it’s practically in our backyard!

Unfortunately, due largely to man’s impact, the area and its inhabitants are threatened. This is where Steve steps in. He has high hopes that we can halt the destruction of this prized, natural resource and encourages others to join him in safe guarding it.

He provided simple advice:

*Keep vehicles on the road- only go offroading in designated areas

*Respect areas that are closed for climbing during nesting season

*Observe shooting restrictions

*Clean up after yourself including bullet casings

We hope you join Steve in his ambitious, but tangible goal of preserving one of Idaho’s treasures! You can donate to the cause and join his pursuits at http://birdsofpreyncapartnership.org/.

Thanks for joining us,

Animated Anna

 






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