Raptors on Thorn Creek Audubon Society’s Program on April 11

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—March 30, 2013. Come see a Peregrine Falcon named Stella, a Red-tailed Hawk named Sky, and a Saw-whet Owl named Sophie.

These are just some of the raptors that will be coming to Park Forest’s Freedom Hall, 410 Lakewood Boulevard, on April 11 at 7 p.m. at the Thorn Creek Audubon Society’s Special Presentation. From nine to 13 birds of prey – various species of hawks and owls – will be displayed by Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab and Education run by Candy and Steve Ridlbauer of Loves Park, Illinois.

Although members of the public cannot touch the actual birds, there will be a big display of the birds’ “biological tools” that they can touch. This includes feet with their talons, wings, tails, skulls, feathers of both owls and hawks (they’re different) and pellets expelled from both owls and hawks after eating. Most people know that owls regurgitate pellets of the indigestible parts of their prey, but few know that hawks also do the same thing.

Five owls are expected: the Great Horned Owl, the Barred Owl, the Barn Owl, two Screech Owls and a Saw-whet. Hawks and falcons will include the Peregrine, a Cooper’s Hawk, a Merlin, a Red-tailed, and a Harrier. All are birds which have been injured or perhaps b red by humans and cannot be released back into the wild.

“We will begin by explaining what a raptor is and why we need raptors in our environment – because of what they eat,” Cindy said. “We will often bring out two birds at a time so people can compare them. We will start with those that hunt in the daytime and work from daytime to nighttime, when the owls hunt.”

These birds of prey can be quite different, she said. “Some of our hawks are very high -strung, the falcons, the Cooper’s Hawk, and the Harriers. Also, female hawks are always larger than the males, sometimes much larger. For example, a female Peregrine can take out a male Red-tail. The Peregrine is a speed demon diving down and the Merlin is a speed demon horizontally. The Cooper’s and Sharpshins are acrobats with wings. Hawks are as intelligent as five-year olds, and on the emotional level of there-year-olds. Owls are harder to train than hawks, not as food-orientated as hawks and more stubborn. Both types of birds play with toys in their cages.”

The Ridlbauers will answer questions about the birds after the formal presentation. The program is open to everyone and is free of charge, but a donation of $5 per family is suggested. Young people are especially encouraged to attend.

Source:  Thorn Creek Audubon Society