Here’s a nearly Christmas present for WC’s loyal readers.
The Peregrine Fund has an educational mission and performs it very well. Whether it is environmental hazards for birds or habitat loss or climate change, The Peregrine Fund teaches well, wrapping the message in the spectacular birds it houses. The Free Flight programs have probably educated as many non-birders on the astonishing powers of birds as anyone in the country.
But education isn’t the primary mission of TPF; that’s preserving and developing populations of raptors. TPF was a major force in bringing its namesake falcon back from the very bring of extinction. It’s a leading force in captive breeding of the California Condor. And it has international programs involving a dozen other species of endangered raptors.
WC had a chance to get a visit to the back rooms of TPF. Photos were taken.
Harpy Eagles are arguably the Western Hemisphere’s largest raptor, and absolutely win the prize for bigger talons. As big as this bird is, it’s a male, about two-thirds the size of a female. Harpy Eagles prey on monkey and sloths, and are threatened by habitat loss.
Also called the Milky Eagle-Owl and the Giant Eagle-Owl, the huge eyes on this bird are even more striking than the photo suggests. This is an African species and is that continent’s largest owl. It’s a cousin to North America’s Great Horned Owl – they are both members of the genus Bubo – but it is a distant cousin.
The Aplomado Falcon has a wide range in Mexico and the tropics of the Western Hemisphere, but it has been mostly extirpated in the United States. TPF is participating in an effort to reintroduce it in its former range in the United States.
These are all working birds. They serve as educational birds for TPF’s programs. They are all, for various reasons, unreleasable. They serve as a kind of poster child for the problems facing apex predators.
WC and Mrs WC are supporters of The Peregrine Fund. It was a treat to get a “back of the house” visit. Thanks to TPF for the chance.