Who knew that just outside of Boise Idaho we would find a treasure: "The World Center For Birds Of Prey?" I had seen the sign for it on our way to Sun Valley. It looked like my kind of place. As luck would have it we took the "short way" from Sun Valley to the Boise Airport. We had a couple of hours to burn and Bob was happy to indulge my bird obsession. So after driving through dense fog, listening to the "anything Bob" radio station. We wound our way behind the Boise Airport to Flying Hawk Lane. The home of the Peregrine Fund.
I had been reading parts of "Wesley the Owl" given to me by my friend and colleague Barabara Slobodian out loud to Bob. We had enjoyed Stacey's account of living with a baby barn owl. Learning more factoids that were explained by a scientist, as well as an animal lover. The first thing we came upon was a wall of owls. How apropos!!
Birds of prey include: Eagles, Vultures, Falcons, Kites, Owls, Osprey, Hawks, Buzzards and Kestrels. They are "raptors" that kill with their powerful talons. Some of the largest birds, and a few of my favorites. I have loved vultures since they were portrayed in cartoons from my childhood. Turkey vultures having a redish pink bald head and a seemingly fur trimmed collar on their coat of feathers. And my all time favorite the Harpy Eagle. Who when threatened raise their large feathers on top of their head. To me looks comical, not ominous.
Above a Turkey Vulture.
Outside there was Bateleur Eagle, and I had never one seen live. I spoke to the him...as I always do to birds and he came closer, turning his head and giving me the "single eye." When I raised my camera to take his picture he opened his massive wings as if to say: "look at these." Indeed, I was impressed. His red markings and blue eyes were dwarfed when he spread his wings.
Below the handsome Bateleur Eagle.
Above is a Harpy who was startled by a screaming kid outside her cage. One of the volunteers, Julie gave us a brief personal tour. I fantasized about missing our plane and staying with my newfound feathered friends. Every hour they bring out a live bird. For me, it doesn't get better than that. The "bird of the hour" was a Peregrine Falcon. He was shy, and not really used to being handled. New to the Center the falconer said: "he needs more socialization." I don't think the bird agreed.
Look at that face! Stunning, handsome, noble, and those eyes! I could have looked at him for hours. In the picture here you can see he liked looking at me too. Different reasons no doubt. I stuck my head in the "Children's Room" just long enough to try on the bird eyes, beak, and feather headband. What a look eh? Bob thoroughly enjoyed our feathered friends. He proudly donned a hat with a harpy on it from the gift shop.
For more information on The Peregrine Fund: http://www.peregrinefund.org.
Thanks for reading. I'm still amazed that you do.