Sunday, January 03, 2016

Enrapt by raptors

I'm not sure what makes me so happy about getting up close and personal with birds of prey, but a visit to the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, Florida put a huge smile on my face. I hear owls in our woods at night and sometimes see hawks, vultures, and eagles at a distance, so it's a real treat to study them at eye level and observe their interactions with their handlers.

All the birds at this center have been rescued from the wild, some damaged in accidents or trapped in fishing line and others treated too long like pets and therefore unable to return to the wild. Some carry permanent damage in the form of twisted wings or a missing eye, but all get medical treatment and plenty of loving care at the Center, which also conducts education programs for schoolchildren and offers tips for those who want to help injured raptors. 

And of course they take donations. Someone has to pay for all those meaty bits of rats and mice the raptors eat, right? May as well be me. (They probably wouldn't like it if I tried to mail them the dead mice that turn up in our mousetraps.)   

Barred owl with handler.


Mississippi Kite

Red-shouldered hawk

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