Sunday, January 26, 2020

An Amazing Afternoon

Three years ago I attended a library presentation by RAPTOR, Inc., a bird of prey rescue, rehabilitation and education center outside Cincinnati, Ohio.  The program was fabulous and I've been interested in the organization ever since.  After trying unsuccessfully to make one of their open house days, I finally scheduled a private "behind the scenes" tour.  It was outstanding.


After a short introductory talk, we headed out back and they brought out Scarlet, a Red-Tailed Hawk, and shared her story.


Scarlet


After rehabilitating from a fractured wing as best she could, she's been working in the education program for around 15 years.  All the permanent residents at the center are there because they are unable to survive in the wild.

We were then taken around all the bird enclosures and told about each bird as an individual and as a species.  They also discussed the different styles of housing and perches and how they accommodate injured birds who aren't able to fly up to standard perches or boxes. 


Great Horned Owl - The Tiger of the Sky - look for the ear tufts.


Barred Owl - their eyes are different - almost sleepy looking.


A partial albino, also known as Leucistic, Red-Tailed Hawk


Apparently this can happen with other birds as well.  I believe my dad said he's seen a leucistic Cardinal.

This is where my photo tour ends.  I took pictures in the beginning, but ended up getting distracted by all the beautiful birds and interesting information and asking endless questions... We also saw a Bald Eagle, a Turkey Vulture, two Eastern Screech Owls and another Great Horned Owl.  You can see and read about them on their ambassador page.

We weren't able to go into the actual flight enclosures (one is 140' long!) they use for rehabilitation and testing, but were shown the live camera feeds.  We then moved into an indoor classroom to meet Storm, a gorgeous and loudly opinionated barn owl who I wish I'd taken a video of...but didn't think about it until we were on the way home :-/.

Tim has seen a barn owl here twice this fall/winter, so we are now going to install a barn owl box in our barn.  The only other owl I hear around here is a Screech Owl.  I haven't seen one though since our visitor back in 2011 (good old blog :-).  I'm hoping as our "woods" continues to grow out back that more owls will find our farm welcoming. 

A big thing they talked about was dangers to these birds - one of the biggest being cars.  Apple cores around here get saved for Cheeto (her favorite treat...besides Cheetos ;-), but if you are tempted to toss yours out the car window, don't.  That draws in small rodents, right along the road, which in turn draws in birds of prey.  From now on my banana peels will be saved for a mid field toss once I get home.  Poisoned rodents is another huge danger.  

If you ever get the chance to visit RAPTOR, Inc. or attend one of their public events, do it.  And if you are not somewhat local, do a search for a similar organization in your area.  I wish I could remember exactly how many birds of prey RAPTOR, Inc. rescued and rehabilitated last year, but I know it was well into the hundreds.

These programs are incredibly important to the birds themselves and the people they educate and inspire.  We were thrilled to experience a small part and help support the work that they do.  It was an amazing afternoon.


10 comments:

Michelle said...

Gulp; I've fed a lot of roadside rodents. No more!

katherine littrell said...

Oh, another reason to call you friend. If you visit my Facebook page, you will see that I have been following the famous Decorah eagles for a decade! Raptor Resource Project in Iowa has been a major organization in the study and conservation of raptors. Their best cans have captivated people all over the world! Check it out. Mom and DM2 will be getting ready for egg laying soon. And the kestrel cam is a good to watch in the summer.

katherine littrell said...

Oh, another reason to call you friend. If you visit my Facebook page, you will see that I have been following the famous Decorah eagles for a decade! Raptor Resource Project in Iowa has been a major organization in the study and conservation of raptors. Their best cans have captivated people all over the world! Check it out. Mom and DM2 will be getting ready for egg laying soon. And the kestrel cam is a good to watch in the summer.

sophy0075 said...

Another rescuer is Martin Tyner. He has been rescuing raptors, other birds, and other wildlife for over 50 years. After almost going bankrupt by funding his rescues with his own money, he and his wife Susan set up the Southwest Wildlife Foundation. The stories of the animals he has rescued, and his efforts to protect wildlife and their environment, are amazing and inspiring. You can watch some of his efforts on YouTube. See https://www.gowildlife.org/martin-tyner/. You can also buy his book - all profits go to “helping the critters.” And yes, he warns cars to SLOW down when there’s a raptor in the road!

Cheryl West said...

What a marvelous trip for you. We are fortunate to live near the Dennison-Pequot nature preserve in Mystic, CT. They do both rehab and lifetime care for these beautiful birds. They offer so much to the community in education with classes, camps and presentations.

Terry and Linda said...

Very very interesting. We have two breeding pairs of Great-Horned Owls that live on the farm. I love them. Right now we have chicks...when you go outside you can hear them calling for food, then a parent swooshes in and lots of loud squawks then another parent. It's SOOOOOOOOO cool!

Michelle said...

Love the photo on Twitter today and I would enjoy a visit here. What beautiful creatures.

Far Side of Fifty said...

What a fun day for you! Have I mentioned before that there is a Wildlife Rehabber near you...If I recall it is called Grit and Grace Rehab

MarmePurl said...

I have been to Raptor Talks at various national parks over the years. Always fascinating. I have owls and hawks and at least one very large unknown bird of prey at my place and love this time of year when they are easy to spot soaring around from bare tree to tree.. Or hear as the case may be..

I need orange said...

I follow a bunch of bird photographers on Instagram (and a few rescue orgs, too). I've seen leucistic birds of various sorts on my screen(s), but not a hawk before this one. (We have melanistic squirrels, but I've not seen a leucistic one....)

People are SO hard on our fellow travelers, two- and four-legged. And six, and eight, and none, and all. :-(

I'm glad you had such a good experience. How cool to get to be there when there weren't crowds of people!

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