North American Birds of Prey: From the Smallest to the Largest
The Orange Land Trust has invited WINGMASTERS’ Julie Collier to present another of her captivating Birds of Prey programs at the Orange Country Fair on Saturday and Sunday, September 16th and 17th. This presentation, featuring live raptors, from the adorable Saw-whet Owl to some of the largest, will center around the birds found in our region of eastern North America.
Birds of prey, also known as raptors, are hunting birds characterized by hooked beaks and powerful grabbing feet armed with sharp talons (the word raptor comes from a Latin word that means “to seize”). Raptors also boast the best eyesight and the sharpest hearing in the animal kingdom. Raptors include eagles, hawks, falcons and owls, and this presentation gives an overview of these different categories. We will gain an understanding of predation, the birds’ place at the top of the food web, their different hunting adaptations and their status in a rapidly changing world. Because many birds of prey are declining in number, this presentation also features one or more endangered raptors, and explains why these species face an uncertain future.
WINGMASTERS is dedicated to increasing public understanding and appreciation of North American birds of prey. Julie Anne Collier and Jim Parks are both licensed raptor rehabilitators based in Massachusetts. Together they care for injured birds of prey with the goal of ultimately releasing them back into the wild. In cases where the birds are left permanently handicapped, Julie and Jim are further licensed to provide a home for these non-releasable raptors, and to use them for educational programs.
The Orange Country Fair is held at the Fairgrounds on Orange Center Road. Each day there will be four half-hour presentations on the hour – at 11 a.m., 12 noon, 1 p.m., and 2 p.m.
Collier has been our guest at the Fair for several years. “One of the reasons I like working with Land Trusts is that the biggest problem to these birds is loss of habitat, and Land Trusts work to preserve open space much needed by so many birds.” She is concerned about the fragmentation of forests and destruction of remaining open space areas by development.
The citizens of the Town of Orange have done much to provide excellent habitat for a wide variety of birds and other wildlife through the preservation of natural open space. This includes the former Hubble property now known as the Turkey Hill Preserve. This, along with other areas, are managed by the Orange Conservation Commission or the Orange Land Trust for protection, preservation and passive use.
As usual, the Orange Land Trust will have its own tent. Stop by to view the free programs, get information on walking and hiking areas in the Town of Orange, and see the photography display. There will be pen and ink note cards designed and drawn by Michael O’Bymachow, and tee-shirts featuring a bird of prey drawn by Julie Collier. Proceeds will benefit the OLT.
Collier will have for sale suitable-for-framing art prints of the birds. These sales will benefit her Educational Raptor Center and her special work with endangered species and preparing them for release into the wild.
The Orange Land Trust is a private nonprofit, volunteer organization, supported by its membership, and that is dedicated to acquiring and preserving natural resources and open space in the Town of Orange. New members are always welcome. Membership registration forms will be available at the tent!
For information, call Chris at 203-397-7599.
Long pointed wings, a sharp beak, and sharp eyes! Native to our area and very fast, the American Kestrel, our smallest falcon, is one of the raptors that will be shown at the Orange Land Trust tent. Photo, ©2012 Alex Iannelli