This weekend we went to a talk given by a rehabilitator of birds of prey. She spoke of the many birds they worked with, releasing them into the wild, and the perils they face, many of which are at the hands of humans.
The most amazing moment was being able to see a Great Horned Owl and a Peregrine Falcon in person. Both birds had injuries too severe for them to be released back into the wild and are now brought to educational programs. The owl had been hit by a car and had lost an eye. The falcon had a wing dislocation that caused a permanent injury so he could no longer fly.
The owl and falcon were amazing. The owl even hooted, which was almost surreal, and the falcon was incredibly regal (admittedly the kids in the crowd were most entertained that the falcon pooped).
I came away from the talk feeling even more strongly that we must take responsibility for the safety and well being of the amazing creatures we share this world with. Two easy things we can do to protect birds of prey:
- Don’t throw food by the side of the road! I don’t know anyone that just chucks trash out of the car window (though surely those people do exist, as there certainly is trash by the side of the road) but many of us have tossed an apple core or banana peel by the side of the road. It will compost, right? It will, but not before attracting rodents, which then attract birds of prey, putting them all at risk of being hit by a car.
- Poison. Poison is not the way to deal with mice or rats. Rodents eat the poison and wander around sick before finally succumbing to the poison. In the meantime they are easy prey for hawks or other birds of prey. The speaker told us of two horses who had been euthanized and not buried. The poison in the horses then sickened many birds who came to feed on the animals. Prevention is key when it comes to rodents. Keep your food compost covered, trash can lids on, and fill any holes that may allow mice or rats to enter your home.