Now through March 24th, the first book in the Bob White Birder Murder Mystery series, The Boreal Owl Murder, is available as a FREE Kindle download! The Bob White Birder Murder Mystery series is currently five titles, with a sixth on the way. Here is your chance to try out the series from the beginning for free! So head over to Amazon to download the first book in the acclaimed series: The Boreal Owl Murder.
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
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.
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.
ZEN the Cooper's Hawk
This is Zen, a male Cooper's Hawk. He has a permanent injury to his right wing, making him unreleasable.
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.
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.
0511 the Red-tailed Hawk
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.
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!
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 ...
... handed off to myself and today's co-hosts ...
... who next pass on the tour to tomorrow's blogs ...
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!
A raffle to benefit the organization Friends of Ryerson Woods offers a great prize: a morning of birding with Kenn Kaufman at Ryerson during the peak of spring migration on May 18th, 2013. Single raffle entries are $20; get three entries for $50. This is a great prize and I am definitely going to enter! Ryerson Woods is a great spot to find migrating warblers and if I win it will be a perfect excuse to visit my family in mid-May! Ryerson Woods is located in Riverwoods, Illinois, north of Chicago. Purchase your raffle tickets before 5PM on May 3rd; see the official Bird with Kenn Kaufman raffle page for details.
Audubon Magazine is giving away five copies of the Kaufman Field Guide to Advanced Birding.
This book is an update and reboot of the first edition, published in 1990. Kaufman on this new edition: "[...] So in this edition I have taken a different approach altogether, and the focus here is on how to identify birds, or how to learn to identify birds. In other words, it’s not about memorizing field marks, it’s about truly understanding what you see and hear."
Get your entry in by midnight on Friday, March 29th. Visit the contest page to learn more.
Good Reads is giving away two copies of Katrina van Grouw's The Unfeathered Bird.
There is more to a bird than simply feathers. And just because birds evolved from a single flying ancestor doesn't mean they are structurally all the same. With over 385 stunning drawings depicting 200 species, The Unfeathered Bird is a richly illustrated book on bird anatomy that offers refreshingly original insights into what goes on beneath the feathered surface.
Learn more and submit your entry here before the end of the day tomorrow.
City of Ravens: The Extraordinary History of London, the Tower and its Famous Ravens by Boria Sax. Published 2011. As reviewed and pictured: hardcover, 206 pages.
Any landmark with as much history as the famous Tower of London should surely have a folklore full of tall tales, exaggerations, and outright lies. In City of Ravens, Boria Sax delves into the convoluted story of a group of "longtime" castle residents: the Tower Ravens.
Superstition says that there must be at least six Common Ravens in residence at the Tower at all times, else very bad things will happen to Britain (ie crown and country will fall).
Author Sax explores the true history of the resident birds, from the popular story of their beginnings in the 17th century, to their documented, known first occurrence in the Tower some two hundred plus years later. In the book we learn about the natural history of Common Ravens in the United Kingdom as we follow the metamorphosis of their legendary status at the Tower.
Though interesting, I thought the language in the book was a bit too academic at times to be a truly enjoyable read all the way through. Some passages were a bit tough to get past, but overall I did like this book. I certainly learned a lot about the famous avian residents of the Tower of London! I give City of Ravens: The Extraordinary History of London, the Tower and its Famous Ravens 3.5 Goldfinches out of 5.
Disclosure: This is my own original, honest review of City of Ravens, a copy of which was provided to me free of charge by the publisher.