Sunday, September 9, 2007

Falcon Fun

Today I went to Little Red Schoolhouse in Willow Springs, IL. They had a free presentation called Falcon Fun. Oh, I had fun alright! Here is the Falcon of the night, Ms. Kestrel. She is 8 years old and has a broken wing. This kestrel is 8 inches long and weighs about 4-5oz. The schoolhouse takes care of her and other injured birds because otherwise she wouldn't have a chance in the wild.
This beautiful lady eats young "fuzzy" mice provided by the schoolhouse nature center every day and leaves a wonderful pellet as a present. Pellets are regurgitated hairballs with intact prey bones. So cool. Much more interesting than the hairballs I find around the house left by my kitty.
The Kestrel is the smallest of the falcons and a permanent resident here in Illinois. Sometimes it is referred to as the "sparrow kestrel" because of it's small size. Naturalist Steve also talked about some other popular raptors in our area....
Ahhhhhhhh! What on earth? This is a real owl skull with fake eye balls. Notice the bone around the eyes. It's called something that I forgot. The main point is that this bone prevents the owl from moving his eyes, therefore he moves his whole head. Contrary to popular belief he cannot move his head completely around (360 degrees) but really only 270 degrees, so says Naturalist Steve. He can hear up to 7x what humans can and flies silently thanks to....
His wings! You can't tell from this photo but it's really huge! If I had to guess, about 2 feet. The very top has a fringed edge, not shown in picture, this awesome built in, standard feature in all owl models, keeps them silent when in flight. Easier to sneak up on you my prey!
Here is an owl talon compared to a red tail hawk's. You don't want to be in their grasps! Notice how "hairy" the owl's leg is to the left. For two reasons, probably more than that but I only remember two; one is another silent mechanism to prevent a noisy flight, they're not the most gracious fliers and need all the help they can get, and two for warmth. I had the best time and really learned a lot thanks to the the Little Red Schoolhouse and Naturalist Steve:)
Hope you enjoyed too!