Raptors over the Broward
The Editor recently absconded all my raptor photos from my bird wall. She is teaching with a small group at her school and the subject of Raptors was the lesson of the day. Talk about tailor made visual aides! She really had those students attention and they loved passing the raptor photos around and telling stories about the various birds and what makes a raptor. Thought I would share the lesson with you too.
I recently attended an Eagle Watcher training session sponsored by the Audubon Society Center for Birds of Prey where they rehabilitate injured raptors. Matt Smith brought Francis (a male Bald Eagle) to the lesson and talked about raptors. A raptor is a bird of prey. The word raptor comes from the Latin root that means ‘to seize and carry away’ and is assigned to any bird that kills with its feet. Hawks, Eagles, Falcons, Osprey, Kites, and Owls are all raptors. A Bird of Prey is a predatory bird, distinguished by a hooked bill and sharp claws (talons) and belonging to the order Falconiformes (diurnal birds of prey such as hawks, falcons, kites, vultures, and osprey) or Strigiformes (nocturnal birds of prey such as owls) that capture, kill, and eat other animals or feed chiefly on carrion. The third common characteristic is the eyes. Raptors have incredible eyesight and can spot prey from a mile or more away. You know, sort of like when a policeman on patrol can smell a hot donut from 10 blocks away. I digress. The hooked beak can tear through tough fish scales and animal hide. The talons have incredible strength, up to several hundred pounds of force can be exerted by the talons. They can literally squeeze a small animal to death. The sharp curved talons ensure there is little chance of escape. They can dive at speeds over 100 miles per hour to quickly capture a fish or bird or small animal. And are they ever so graceful and majestic in flight.
Of all the local raptors, the Eagles are my favorite. It is the only bird mentioned that flies before the throne of God. Hope you enjoy the raptors of the Broward. Now smell the aroma of that coffee, grasp the handle with your talons and see the steamy brew and indulge the raptor in you over a nice donut. Be blessed today. Harry