Amy
ABOUT ME - My name is Amy and I'm a birder living in central Florida. On this blog I post book and birding product reviews as well as birder gift ideas and announcements related to my birder gift shop on this site. I also have a personal birding blog called Powered By Birds.

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Archive: Rehabilitation

Raptors as Education Ambassadors

Posted on March 20th, 2013 in Books, Florida, Illinois, Rehabilitation

Crossley ID Guide Blog Tour

Thanks for visiting this stop on the Crossley ID Guide Blog Tour! I hope you’ll enjoy this look at some raptors I have come to know personally. Check out the bottom of this post to find a chance to win a signed copy of The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors.

The goal of wildlife rehabilitation is always to return the patients to the wild, but sometimes the injuries sustained by the animal are too severe. In the case of non-releasable birds of prey, life as an education ambassador may be in order. I am very lucky to be able to volunteer with a couple of great rehabilitation centers where permanently injured birds of prey are in residence. Let me introduce you to some of my feathered friends…

DARWIN the American Kestrel

Darwin

This is Darwin, a male American Kestrel. He is imprinted on humans and cannot be released into the wild. Darwin is the first bird of prey I got to meet up close and personal.

Darwin

It is always a joy for me to be able to handle a bird of prey on the glove like this. To see and study Darwin’s feathers up close is really special, and something I also love to be able share with others. During informal education programs, I have been able to talk with members of the public about birds like Darwin and the others in this post. I always hope that the time I spend sharing these raptors with interested people results in a positive impact on them and their outlook on birds, wildlife, and the environment in general.

Hopefully they come away with a new appreciation for birds — and they will seek them out in their future outdoor adventures. American Kestrels are found in both locations where I have had them in programs (northern Illinois and central Florida). Sometimes people are surprised to learn that these beautiful little raptors are indeed native to where they (the people) live, and that kestrels aren’t too hard to find. I love telling people where to look for kestrels and how to identify them.

Crossley-American-Kestrel-small
Click to embiggen

ZEN the Cooper’s Hawk

Zen

This is Zen, a male Cooper’s Hawk. He has a permanent injury to his right wing, making him unreleasable.

Zen and me

Cooper’s Hawks are notoriously high-strung — as bird-eaters (and so bird-chasers!) it is just in their nature. So Cooper’s Hawks are not often glove-trained. Bringing Zen to a program is always special. Cooper’s Hawks are common visitors to back yard bird feeding stations, but people sometimes overestimate their size. So it’s especially fun to share beautiful Zen with back yard birders.

Cooper's Hawk-small
Click to embiggen

PICASSO the Red-shouldered Hawk

Picasso the Red-shouldered Hawk

This is Picasso. Picasso is a male Red-shouldered Hawk, and I have not yet had the pleasure to handle him. I hope that will change soon! Picasso is missing his right eye, and has a permanent injury to his left wing.

Red-shouldered Hawks are abundant here in Florida. Even though they are common, people are sometimes surprised to learn some of their basic facts: they are monogamous; females are larger than males (as with most birds of prey); they typically weigh no more than 1.5 lb.

Crossley Red-shouldered Hawk-small
Click to embiggen

0511 the Red-tailed Hawk

0511

This lovely female Red-tailed Hawk is named 0511. She is also an imprint; she was found begging for food while perched on a car mirror as a juvenile bird. She is the first Red-tailed Hawk I was able to hold on the glove.

It is fun to speak with the public with 0511 on the glove. People relate to her, since Red-tailed Hawks are quite common. She is mostly correctly identified by passers-by — especially if I turn her around so her beautiful tail is visible. During programs, lots of people want to share their own stories about seeing Red-tailed Hawks in the wild. It is always fun to hear of their encounters, answer their questions, and encourage them to love raptors as much as I do.

Crossley Red-tailed Hawk-small
Click to embiggen

These are just a few of the raptors I have been able to meet up close and share with others. Of course, I love them all!

GIVEAWAY

Crossley ID Guide: Raptors

Thanks to Princeton University Press, I am excited to announce that I have a signed copy of The Crossley ID Guide: Raptors to give away to one lucky reader!

To enter, just leave a comment on this post below. Be sure to include a valid email address where you can be reached in case you win the random drawing. I will use a random name selector to pick the winner on Wednesday, March 27th, so please have your comment entry posted by 12 midnight EDT Tuesday, March 26th.

THE BLOG TOUR CONTINUES

And after you’ve left your comment, be sure to visit the other great blogs participating in the raptor love-fest known as The Crossley ID Guide Blog Tour!

Yesterday the following blogs …

Greg Laden’s Blog and Birdfreak

… handed off to myself and today’s co-hosts …

Another Bird Blog and Radley Ice

… who next pass on the tour to tomorrow’s blogs …

BRDPICS; Thermal Birding; and NatureShare

The blog tour wraps up with a fun live online event on Friday. Click to learn more about the Raptor Happy Hour Shindig Event!

Thanks again to my readers for visiting this post. And a big THANK YOU to Jessica Pellien at Princeton University Press for arranging this mega raptorfest blog tour!

Book Review: In the Company of Birds

Posted on February 10th, 2012 in Book Review, Books, Rehabilitation

In the Company of Birds by Linda Johns. First published 1995. As reviewed and pictured: hardcover, 122 pages.

I’ve never had a pet bird, or had more than short visits with pet birds of friends or family. Over time in 2010 and 2011 I was lucky enough to spend some time with the education birds at Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation. These birds are absolutely not pets, but as a volunteer handler I had the chance to get to know them, just a bit. I have seen more experienced handlers in the company of these majestic raptors, and I am amazed at the relationships that can develop between human and bird. I can only hope to become as well-acquainted with avian friends as my fellow volunteers were.

Author Linda Johns is fortunate enough to have gotten to intimately know many avian friends. In her book In the Company of Birds she tells of some of her feathered companions, both pets and rehabilitation patients, many of whom share her home with her for an extended period. Pigeons Desmond and Molly, along with regular resident roosters Bubble and Squeak (raised from chickhood), are joined at various times by a starling, a duck, a grackle, an owl, and others. The stories of these individual birds are intertwined as the birds grow up and some transition from patient to wild and free visitor.

The detailed stories of the birds’ personal lives are fun to follow. Bubble and Squeak’s coming of age tales are a particular joy to read. Not all rehabilitation stories have happy endings, and the author honestly shares her successes and well as her failures. While I enjoyed reading about the various birds, their unique personalities, and about the hilarious predicaments in which the author frequently finds herself as a result of her avian charges, one part of the book fell a bit flat with me. Besides being an author and wild bird rehabber, Linda Johns is a fine artist, and throughout the book she presents avian situations as inspiration for her artwork. I couldn’t really follow the paragraphs where Johns translates her connection with the birds to her artwork, even when said artwork is reproduced in the pages of the book. These ties between bird spirituality and artwork didn’t come up so frequently to sour me on the book completely, though.

In the end I found this to be an enjoyable slice-of-rehabber-life read, and I give In the Company of Birds 3.5 Goldfinches out of 5.