Thursday, September 20, 2012

Raptors in Flight


You know how much I love raptors of all sorts. We have been watching the Osprey migration along the beach all week. Today we drove almost two hours to the Charleston area to visit The Center for Birds of Prey.

As a professional raptor volunteer, I was first interested in the construction of their enclosures, and was very impressed. They are all sturdily built, with wire sides to allow in cooling breezes, and a good sized covered area in each for protection from rain. The tour guide explained that the center had 120 resident birds, both local and foreign, and take care of about 500 in rehabilitation each year! Wow!  I just about choked at those numbers.  They have paid staff, plus volunteers, and obviously, a well-heeled list of donors! Visitors are welcome three days a week for the tour and a free flight program.
We watched eight different birds, such as this beautiful Lanner Falcon from the Mediterranean who was a little reluctant in the morning program, but made up for it by flying for the lure in the afternoon program.
This African Yellow Billed Kite also performed twice today. The Kite is larger than our Mississippi Kites, but they will catch prey from the tree tops to feed their young. In fact, the trainer threw a bit of meat in the air for the bird to catch and eat on the wing. Then he put another bit of meat on a fingertip and held it up for the kite to snatch. You can see him eating his treat in the air. Oh, would I LOVE to work with raptors like this!
The imprinted Barred Owl flew, then begged to be fed as a young chick would...  
...but I knew RRoKI's Eo would love this video of his cousin flying for the visitors, and impressing them as they should always be!

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