Sunday, September 14, 2014

Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab presentation

Yesterday I went to a program in a local forest preserve that was hosted by the Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab. It was, of course, on raptors. They had a bunch of cool birds. I think there were 7 species there. They had a great horned owl, a barred owl, two Eastern screech-owls, a Northern saw-whet owl, a barn owl, a peregrine falcon, and two American kestrels.

Cathy, the speaker, spoke on a variety of subjects: "What are raptors?" "Are they in my backyard?" "How many species of raptors are there in Illinois?" And she answered those - plus more - fully.

Like most of the raptors they had there, Ulysses (above) was imprinted. Being imprinted makes you unreleasable. It means that when any bird opens its eyes, the first thing it sees, to the bird, is its mother.

That's Stella, the peregrine falcon. I think Cathy said that Stella was a retired falconry bird. Falconry is the old sport of training a falcon or hawk to hunt food, then bring it back. She has raised six foster chicks. There is also something wrong with her foot. She's a really flighty bird! As she came out of her box and alighted on a handler's glove, she just started flapping like crazy! As she started flapping, she quacked like a duck. Maybe that and their food (ducks) is where they get the old name, duck hawk, from.

Sky is a female red-tailed hawk with a broken wing, I think. Notice how she holds her right wing higher than the left. That's because of her break. There's not a lot to say about her.

Orion and Ophelia, the two Eastern screech-owls, are really, really cuddly. Orion (left) is imprinted. Ophelia (guess where she is) is blind in one eye and has a broken right wing. She was hit by a car. I can't even remember how many foster chicks they've raised. Well over ten!

I don't remember this big guy's name. I think he's imprinted. There's not much to say about him, either.

Then there's the two American kestrels. I don't remember their names either (don't blame me! Those were a lot of weird names). I think they were imprinted, too.

And last but not least, there's the barn owl. Barn owls are endangered in Illinois, yet they're the most widely distributed owl in the world! He was spooky. But when he looks right at you, he's kinda cute!

So now that you've seen all of these birds, maybe you wanna come to one of the NIRRRE's presentations! They're really cool, and you learn a lot. Their full name is the Northern Illinois Raptor Rehabilitation and Education. They "rescue, rehabilitate and release." Click here to go to their website.

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