Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Digs!

If you haven’t been to Grant’s Farm yet this season, then you are missing out on World Bird Sanctuary’s new bird of prey display.
 Sanibel, the Bald Eagle, in front of the visitors' viewing platform
World Bird Sanctuary has worked with Grants Farm for twenty-five years, flying birds of prey in their Animal Encounters shows and educating visitors about these majestic creatures.  Our weathering area (falconer’s term for an area where raptors on jesses are kept for the day) has always been behind the scenes and could only be seen by the public when the trams went by.  I don’t know how many children or adults alike, I have heard in the past excitedly shouting “An Eagle!” or “Look, it’s an Owl!” as the tram rolled by.
 Prius, the Gyrfalcon/Peregrine Falcon Hybrid in front of the waterfall
Even though I do miss hearing the tram-loads of visitor’s exclamations, I have to say that our new display is quite the improvement.  Now instead of seeing our birds for merely a fleeting moment as the trams roll by, visitors can view the birds at their leisure and take all of the pictures that they want.  There’s a water feature that makes a great backdrop, as well as some mature trees.
 Carmelita, the Great Horned Owl, in front of a very natural looking cliff
With the larger area, we were able to increase the number of viewable birds to seven instead of five.  Most of the birds on display are native to the United States, including a Great Horned Owl, Harris’ Hawk, Barn Owl, Bald Eagle, Red-Tailed Hawk and a Gyrfalcon-Peregrine Falcon Hybrid.  The only non-native species is the spectacular and colorful Bateleur Eagle, which is native to Africa.
 Mars, the Red-tailed Hawk, with a waterfall as a background
I hope that you have a chance to visit the new display area and stay for a show.  The Animal Encounter shows are free from Friday – Sunday at 10:30 am, 12:00, 1:30 and 3:00, from now until 4 November.  You’ll have a chance to witness the spectacular flight demonstrations of our Harris’ Hawk and Barn Owl.  Hope to see you there!

Submitted by Billie Baumann, World Bird Sanctuary Outreach Coordinator

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