Thursday, January 26, 2017

Eagle Days

Christine, Michaela & Danielle 2017-01-13 #01
A recent walk through the woods.
As many of you know, I got into bird watching and birding shortly after Michaela was born. As a baby she would not sleep on her own, so carrying her in slings while we went for walks was one option. Since that time, we have went as a family to many outdoor education programs, introduced them to many species, and in general often try to spend time outdoors.

This past weekend we went to Eagle Days at Wyandotte County Lake. Three years ago we attended the event but this is the first year since then in which the schedule worked out.

While there were various activities going on during the event, the Operation Wildlife presentations and their educational birds, were the highlight.

Below are some photos from two different programs and the girls memories from the day (their written comments are below this paragraph). Just a heads up, I did not fact check their worries, we'll just treat them as the gold girl's alternative facts if disputed.

OWL - Peregrine Male    OWL - Broadwing Hawk

A Peregrine Falcon (top left) is the fastest animal in the world and have nose flaps that help protect it while it is in a stoop.  Broadwing Hawks (top right) migrate to South America in large flocks.

Both of these Eastern Screech-Owls (below) are missing an eye due to getting hit by a car.
They are the smallest owl with tufted horns.

OWL - Eastern Screech-Owl Gray     OWL - Eastern Screech-Owl Red

In order to keep a wild bird, the Operation Wildlife facility has to have a permit and the bird must have an injury that does not allow it to be released. Some of these birds were unable to be released as they imprinted on humans.  Raptors imprint for the first 13 weeks of their lives.  If you find a baby bird put it back in the nest or leave it alone rather than bring it home!

In the second program we went across the lake to the lodge and saw another dozen species.

OWL - Swainsons    OWL - Harris
If you wanted to have animals named after you should have been a friend of John James Audubon like
William Swainson (Swainson's Hawk) and Edward Harris (Harris's Hawk right side).

The tail of Bald Eagles are almost brown in their first year. In each year afterwards there will be more white on the tail feathers. It takes five years for the tail and head feathers to become completely white.  The name Bald is a historic simplification for the balled usage meaning white, but now we seem to think it means hairless.

OWL - Kestrel  OWL - Prairie Falcon  OWL - Merlin
All species in the Falcon family (American Kestrel, Prairie Falcon, and Merlin L to R) have a malar stripe
distinguishing them from other hawks.

The American Kestrel is the smallest member of the falcon family. The Merlin is the similar in size as the American Kestrel, but only appears in winter months for much of the US.

OWL - Rough-Legged Hawk   OWL - Barn Owl
The Rough-Legged Hawks (left) have many feathers on their legs! The Barn Owl (right), also known as
the Ghost Owl, will nest in buildings and screams

Dad writing again.....the program was awesome for me, but the best was watching the kids sit still and pay attention for a couple hours straight!

William and Danielle 2017-01-22

No comments: