Dear Yellowstone National Park,
Yellowstone National Park should inform more people about the importance of raptors in the park. Brett French, during a recent visit to Columbus High School, said that “There isn’t really a focus on the raptors of the park, though attention on them is slowly rising from previous years.”
The park celebrates International Migratory Bird Day every May 13 with free public programs and a field day. But the issue with Yellowstone raptors is that despite this special day people aren’t informed because of all the attention in the park is mostly focused on the big animals of the park. The migratory bird festivities focus on crafts and activities such as bird watching, the people who participate get great information on the raptors in the park. But bird-watchers should remember to view birds from a distance. Getting too close can stress the birds and sometimes cause the birds to abandon their nests decreasing their population.
In Yellowstone, raptor habitats consists of trees. An issue involving the raptors in Yellowstone is lightning-made and man-made forest fires that could wipe out the raptors habitats; the key to solving this with man is to make sure everyone who is going to have a campfire of any sort has proper fire prevention training. For an example, in the summer of 1988, lightning and human-made fires consumed more than 793,000 acres of the 2,219,789 acre park. While there were no recorded incidents of raptors being harmed in the fire first hand, but the fires did kill and displace many animals.
The raptors of the park are significant to Native American cultures and oral histories because their feathers are used by traditional war dancers in their garments. Dr. Shane Doyle, a Crow tribe member and historian, says that “Raptors are important in Apsaalooké (Crow) warrior society culture. Especially eagles, hawks, and falcons. Their feathers are worn by traditional war dancers on their outfits. The presence of large owls is believed to be a sign of good fortune. Smaller owls are thought to be mischievous and are often seen as bad omens, so there is a big difference in the traditional Apsaalooké view of owls.”
Raptors are very important to Crow society and culture, and Dr. Doyle give great examples on how they are use and how large and small owls are viewed. I never knew this, and would have loved to see the park put an effort out to educate its tourists on how important raptors are and how they are used in Native American society.
Yellowstone National Park, give more attention to the raptors, put signs and information plates around the park with information, to inform more people of the raptors around the park and the cultural relevance that they have for the Native Americans. Also have more representation of traditional Native American heritage and culture in the park. These two topics should have more information on them around the park. Inform the people.