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Refuge celebrates centennial

The Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge will kick off its year-long centennial Saturday with a foray into two areas to scope out raptors.

The refuge will host a Winter Raptor Rally, during which visitors will join teams of observers counting the eagles, hawks, harriers, owls and falcons wintering on refuge lands south of Klamath Falls.

The field work will focus on bird identification, their habits and the habitats where they are found.

The trip is free and open to anyone interested in raptors, refuge spokesman Dave Menke says.

Participants will meet at the Lower Klamath Refuge entrance parking area at 8:15 a.m., where they will break into two teams that leave promptly at 8:30 a.m. One team will go to the Tule Lake Refuge, while the other will venture into the Lower Klamath Refuge.

After lunch, the teams will switch locations. At 3:30 p.m., observers are invited to join an experienced guide at Laird's Landing to watch the bald eagles home into a night roost.

Participants should bring a sack lunch, warm clothing and binoculars. Carpooling is encouraged.

Spotting scopes and bird-identification guides will be available for group use.

This is the first of 12 monthly events planned as part of the centennial celebration. On Aug. 8, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt established the Lower Klamath marshlands as the first refuge set aside for migratory waterfowl and marsh birds.

For a month-by-month list of events, as well as maps and directions, check the refuge's Web site at www.fws.gov/klamathbasinrefuges.

For more information and to check for changes to the program, telephone Menke at 530-667-2231.