Monday, August 12, 2013

Red Tailed Hawk at Shenandoah National Park

I love birds. Especially owls. I lay in bed at night delighted when I hear the coo of a barred owl (Who Cooks for You, Who Cooks for Yoooooouuuuuuu). The barred owl near my home seems to coo around 9:00 PM and again at 5:00 AM...or maybe those are just the times when I am sometimes awake to hear it.

During a trip to Shenandoah National Park, the girls and I took advantage of the  Birds of Prey talk led by Ranger Sally Hurlbert.

We've attended this talk before with other rangers twice and seen the tiny eastern screech owl. When Ranger Sally pulled out a BIG cage, my oldest daughter knew we were going to see a new bird.

The actual discussion centered more on Peregrine Falcons (did you know they are the fastest creature on earth with a dive speed of 150 miles per hour and that they like to lay their eggs on rocky cliffs, not in nests?) but then the ranger challenged us to identify the bird of prey she coaxed out of the covered box.

This powerful hunter did not retain his dignity for long. When he tried to fly away, the leash around his feet turned him upside down. Ranger Sally played a game of Cup and Ball with him until he righted himself.

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