Jan 28

Birds of Prey

Eagles, Falcons, Hawks, Kestrels, Ospreys, Owls and Vultures are all considered birds of prey.

In Pennsylvania we have many varieties of raptor, from the large turkey vulture with its dark wing span of up to 70 inches (177 cm) and its ugly red head and neck, to the American Bald Eagles that scavenge the big rivers like the Delaware, the Lehigh and the Susquehanna.

There is an old male eagle who hangs around near my home. One time, I saw him fly overhead with a large fish in his talons. I also frequently see a variety of different hawks hunting for small rodents in the surrounding farm fields. Growing fruits and vegetables can attract vermin like mice and rats and I see evidence of their activities. I am considering putting up a house for Screech Owls. Owls of course, are nocturnal (as opposed to diurnal) hunters, so spotting one on the wing is not common. If they keep the rodent population down I am happy to have them.

Follow this link to learn how to indentify raptors in flight.

A Wing Span Chart

A Wing Span Chart

The wing span chart pictured above shows the size of birds as small as the tiny, Ruby-Throat Hummingbird to the majestic Bald Eagle.

Today, I took a little drive to neighboring Carbon County. There at the Carbon Co. Environmental Education Center, I met with Susan the caretaker. She shared some of her knowledge about raptors and was kind enough to allow me inside the cages at feeding time.

It is a sad fact that large raptors are sometimes injured by cars or sadder still, shot by ignorant or malicious wrongdoers. The upside of this tragedy is that there are places like this environmental education center willing to receive and care for these damaged birds. This type of raptor exhibition is a fine opportunity to teach people about birds of prey and the vital role they play in a balanced Eco-system. Some of them will never again take flight because of their injuries. However, there are some cases of birds that have been injured and can be mended to full health. Those lucky birds will be released and reintroduced to their natural habitat.

With Susan’s guidance, I was able to capture some terrific pics of these birds.

This is a Red Tail Hawk. His wing is broken beyond repair and he will never fly again. He sits tethered to a perch at the entrance to the education center.

This is a Red Tail Hawk. His wing is broken beyond repair and he will never fly again. He sits tethered to a perch at the entrance to the education center.

This raven was shot and now resides at the center. It was probably a case of mistaken identity. Ravens look similar to crows, though they are considerably larger. It is lawful to hunt crows, but not ravens.

This Raven was shot and now resides at the center. It was probably a case of mistaken identity. Ravens look similar to crows, though they are considerably larger. It is lawful to hunt crows, but not ravens.

A pair of Great Horned Owls. The female is on the left and her male companion on the right.

A pair of Great Horned Owls. The female is on the left and her male companion on the right.

This little screech owl seemed annoyed at me for disturbing her mealtime.

This little screech owl seemed annoyed at me for disturbing her mealtime.

The American Bald Eagle making lunch of a little mouse.

The American Bald Eagle making lunch of a little chick.

A Golden Eagle, close relative of the Bald Eagle.

A Golden Eagle, close relative of the Bald Eagle.

 

 

 

This Red Tailed Hawk is fortunate that he will be returned to the wild after his wounds are healed. He is kept in a large "flight pen" and away from the birds unable to be released from captivity. The separate pen is apart from the others and the viewing public is generallynot permitted to visit these birds. This prevents the bird from becoming accustomed to humans.

This Red Tail Hawk is fortunate that he will be returned to the wild after his wounds are healed. He is kept in a large “flight pen” and away from the birds unable to be released from captivity. The separate pen is apart from the others and the viewing public is generally not permitted to visit these birds. This prevents the bird from becoming accustomed to humans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This site is very informative and has a cool MP3 download to listen to each bird. It is a great aid for identifying birds of all kinds.

Finally, this site is helpful to prepare you for bird watching or birding.

Permanent link to this article: http://english-speak-english.com/birds-prey/

2 comments

    • May on October 10, 2014 at 1:47 am
    • Reply

    After reading this article, I learned a lot about birds of prey, which is a new area of knowledge to me. The environment for birds is becoming more and more severe, the abuse of pesticide, excess trees falling and even shot by people all these have lead to the current situation. Humans should be aware that birds are our friends and we should protect them.

    1. Thanks for your comment, May.
      You are correct that we should protect birds, because they play a vital role in maintaining a balance in nature.
      One of the very nice things about this place is that visitors have an opportunity to view these great birds up close. It is very rare to see them so close in the wild. It is also a great place for young people to learn about how to protect the environment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.