Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rapt for Raptors

On Saturday morning, B. and I ventured to Ramona to the Wildlife Research Institute, a cool nonprofit where they conduct research on wildlife and wildlife conservation. During January and February they put on a free educational program called HawkWatch, where they (obviously) concentrate on raptors. They catch raptors, for educational purposes but primarily to band them.

It was an amazing experience, as these photos attest. Above is a red-shouldered hawk. Isn't she gorgeous?
This fellow never really settled down--he was showing everyone that he is big and powerful red-tailed hawk.

This is the female red-tailed hawk.
Sadly, I'm not sure what kind of hawk that is above...
This is a female American kestrel, a very small hawk (9 to 12 inches); she was feisty and managed to bite the naturalist's hand...they'd also snared her mate, but he managed to escape and flew away before he could be banded.
Some gorgeous tailfeathers...
Here the naturalist is banding a bird...he tucks their wings in, leans them back, and they settle right down, almost as if they're hypnotized. It's fascinating.These are the contraptions in which they hold them before they band them...you can see some talons up top...
And here is a raptor soaring soaring soaring. It's magical... out in the field, we also saw a (rare) prairie falcon and a (rare) bald eagle.
It was a lovely day...I'm a closet bird geek, I confess--and I mean "bird geek" in the nicest possible way!!!

3 comments:

Dolores said...

Hi Sherri. I've always wanted to journey out to this place. I volunteered with Project Wildlife a few years ago and wanted to take care of injured raptors until I was told you had to feed them live mice which I just couldn't handle. I agree. Birds are simply amazing and some of our most beautiful creatures!

Robin said...

How beautiful and magical. The sky was very blue that day! You guys do the funnest stuff on the weekend!

vivi said...

The photos are beautiful. I know where you get the love of birds. HIM loves birds, too, as you know. XXX