Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hawks and Eagles and Owls, Oh My!

We went to VINS Nature Center in Quechee, Vermont today. VINS stands for Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences, and they are an education and rehabilitation center for raptors. Raptors are hawks, eagles, owl and falcons. They have thrice daily raptor shows, exhibit cages of raptors that cannot be rehabilitated to the point of release back into the wild, and a one-way window looking in a rehabilitation room. I can't say enough good things about this center. The employees and volunteers are knowledgeable and friendly, the grounds are clean and I feel enlightened and educated every time I go there.

Here is a Red-Tailed Hawk. He flew into a power line and injured his wing to the point that it couldn't be repaired for long soaring. He can still fly a little though.

This Bald Eagle couldn't take his eye off me...
unlike these Golden Eagles that wouldn't give me the time of day.

This Barred Owl has an injury from being hit by a car. He looks very proud and regal. We hear these around our house a lot, especially during the spring mating season.

Turkey Vultures are controversial raptors because some say they aren't raptors at all. They don't kill; they are carrion eaters, they have a good sense of smell; necessary to find that nice stinky carrion, and they have only one sharp talon on each foot; the others are soft toes. In case you ever wondered why they don't have feathers on their head, it's because they like to really stick their head in their food. They don't want to have a headful of feathers covered in entrails.

Finally, is this Harris's Hawk. I hadn't seen one before because they are a western raptor often used in falconry. He was photogenic and a good poser.

If you're ever in Central Vermont, check this place out.

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