Friday, August 20, 2021

Sharing Information

It's been almost exactly a year since my last blog post. Blame it on lock-down laziness? I wasn't doing much birding during the time of Covid and I also was in the hospital and recovering from open heart surgery (I'm fine now.) BUT, I was taking a number of online classes about birds (and cooking, but not cooking birds--I'm vegetarian).

 "Once you discover something it's important to share that information." This advice comes from the scientists at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, ID. I discovered the Center while taking a kid's course through Varsity Tutors. Most of their classes are free or available for a very low cost. And while they say that this class was for children, it was very enlightening for adults also, so take a class with a kid or by yourself. Varsity Tutors also offers classes on dinosaurs, ancestors of today's birds, and many other topics.

During the one hour class, Saving Raptors, Curtis Evans shared information and introduced us to some of the birds of prey that are currently living at the Center. In addition to rehabilitation, the Center raises endangered birds to be released back into the wild. Many birds at the Center are used in educational situations if they can't be released. The Center also works around the world to help prevent habitat loss and extinction.

Burrowing owls (Photo by
The Peregrine Fund)

One thing I've learned as a birder is that we are always learning new things about birds! Owls borrow a nest someone else, like a hawk or eagle, has made. Or smaller owls go into cavities in trees or barns. Vultures lay eggs on a scrape on a cliff or in a cavity. Hawks and eagles make nests. Falcons may nest on the edge of buildings. (See Tower Girl at the University of Texas at Austin) Eagles build very large nests adding to the building every year. Nests are not deep but the birds continue adding a clean layer to the nest.

Milky eagle owl
(Photo by the Peregrine Fund)

One of the most amazing raptors shown was the Milky Eagle Owl, Africa’s largest owl, commonly known as the Giant Eagle Owl, its correct name is the Verreaux's eagle-owl. The one at the World Center is an owl that hatched at the Atlanta Zoo, where one can be seen also. Hand raised, the owlet then went to Idaho where it remains. So now I have to plan a visit!

Hopefully I can get back on track now that there is some return to normalcy. Wearing a mask, I am going to lectures, getting out to bird, and travelling some. And, of course, always learning.