Raptors as Education Ambassadors

Crossley ID Guide Blog TourThanks 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

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

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

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

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!

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