Anna’s Favorite Raptor

Peregrine Falcon talk at CRC

Freya and her handler meet the first graders. (Photo: David Ozab)

The peregrine falcon. Here’s a description of this amazing bird from the Cascades Raptor Center.

A large, dark, powerful falcon with long, pointed wings and a long, narrow, tapered tail. Plumage is similar between the sexes, but females are larger.

The Peregrine Falcon has a black hood that extends down along the side of the head in a distinctive wide mustache mark. Upper parts of the bird are a dark slate-gray and lightly barred; underparts are a whitish color at the throat, shading to a buffy color with elongated spots on the chest, and more dark barring across the abdomen; legs and feet of the adult are bright yellow. Like all other members of the falcon family, the Peregrine has a distinct notch in the upper mandible for cervical dislocation of its prey.

This falcon flies with smooth, shallow, powerful wing beats, often soaring high with wings out flat and tail fanned when searching for prey, then diving and maneuvering at high speed to strike birds in midair. Peregrines are capable of gliding and flapping speeds up to 60 mph, and of reaching speeds up to 200 mph in spectacular dives called stoops.

We got to meet Freya, one of CRC’s resident falcons close up on Anna’s class field trip. We each took a photo.

Freya the peregrine falcon (taken with zoom lens)

Freya (Photo: David Ozab)

I was in the back and used the zoom lens on Julia’s camera. Anna didn’t need a zoom lens. She was in the front row and got to see Freya up close.

Closeup photo of Freya

“Peregrine falcon power!” (Photo: Anna Ozab)

When the keeper talked about the dark feathers under the falcon’s eyes and how they help her see—sort of like eye-black—Anna compared them to the dark stripes under the cheetahs eyes.

She learned that from her favorite TV show, Wild Kratts on PBS KIDS.

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Bald Eagle Photoblog

Bald eagle facing slightly to viewer's right. (Photo @2013, Julia M. Ozab)

Photo: Julia Ozab

A description of the Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) from Cascades Raptor Center.

This majestic bird of prey, our national symbol, has a distinctive adult color scheme – white head, white tail, dark brown body, yellow eyes, and massive yellow beak. As with many other raptors, the female is larger than the male and the sexes look alike. It takes four years for immature birds to develop the characteristic adult plumage pattern, so identifying young birds can be confusing. Juveniles resemble Golden Eagles in being generally brown, but they lack the golden head, and their legs are only feathered halfway to the foot. Immature birds of both species are brown with areas of white; young Golden Eagles have areas of white on the tail and the base of the flight feathers, while young Bald Eagles show more variable patterns of white speckling. The Bald Eagle has a relatively large head, and long, straight-edged wings; young birds have broader wings and longer tails than adults. This eagle flies with slow, shallow, powerful wingbeats, and soars with wings held out flat.

More information on CRC’s resident bald eagles here.

Bald eagle profile facing viewer's left.  (Photo @2013, Julia M. Ozab)

Photo: Julia Ozab

Bald eagle head on.  (Photo @2013, Julia M. Ozab)

Photo: Julia Ozab

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Wildlife Safari Teaser Photoblog

Anna in the Wildlife Safari Village (Photo: Julia Ozab)

Next week marks the tenth anniversary of our first trip to Wildlife Safari in Winston, Oregon. In honor of the occasion, I’m planing a detailed travel article about this amazing wildlife park; in the meantime here are some photo highlights from our most recent visit.

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