The Center's Resident Birds

  Complete species and biographical information coming soon.

NOTE: Possession and display of migratory birds are by permission of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

OWLS
Ural Owl / Strix uralensis.
The Ural Owl is one of the larger members of the wood owl family. Found primarily in loose, mature, mixed forests from Scandinavia east to Japan, the Ural Owl is named for the mountains that share much of its range. Like most wood owls, the Ural Owl has a large, dome-shaped head which supports the large facial disks used for enhanced hearing ability. The diet of the Ural Owl consists largely of small mammals such as mice and voles, but may also include birds and larger mammals up to the size of hares.

Throughout much of its range, the Ural Owl is still common; however, in areas where hollow and broken trees are removed from the forest, population decreases have been reported due to the lack of suitable nesting habitat. In some of these areas, the addition of nest boxes has proven to be a successful conservation measure.

One of the Center’s flying owls is a female Ural Owl who was hatched at the Center in 2006. She was hand-reared by the Center’s education staff in order to facilitate her training for flying demonstrations and educational programs. Even in her early months, she visited school classrooms and enlightened hundreds of children and adults. As a full-sized, flighted bird, she traveled with Center staff to New York City to participate in the Urban Parks Falconry Extravaganza 2006. 

Asian Brown Wood Owl / Strix leptogrammica.

Vermiculate Eagle Owl / Bubo cimeracens

Southern White-faced Scops owl / Ptilopsis granti

Eastern Screech owl / Megascops asio

Great Horned owl / Bubo virginianus

Barred owl / Strix varia

Long-eared owl / Asio otus

Spectacled owl / Pulsatrix perspicillata

Burrowing owl / Athene cunicularia

Boobook owl / Ninox novaeseelandiae


EAGLES

American Bald eagle / Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Golden eagle / Aquila chrysaetos


VULTURES

Black Vulture / Coragyps atratus: A world without vultures would be a world in big ecological trouble. The people of India and Pakistan are finding this out the hard way following the recent precipitous declines in their most common vulture species. Fortunately, in North America we have vulture species that are currently quite healthy and numerous. The NA species are being actively monitored and researched to help ensure that their current status is sustained. One of the two vulture species seen commonly throughout much of the United States and Central America is the Black vulture. They are often seen along roadways where they congregate around the carcasses of animals killed by vehicles. Their diet consists almost entirely of carrion although they have been reported killing sick or weakened calves. They are also seen in large groups at roost sites where they congregate with Turkey vultures. In flight, the Black vulture can be identified by its short tail, silvery-white wing tips and rather awkward, rapid flapping that looks as if the bird is struggling to keep from falling out of the sky.

Black vultures “2081” and “2082” arrived at the ICBP medical clinic as small, white, fluffy hatchlings whose parents had been killed by dogs. As birds that nest on the ground, Black vultures are particularly susceptible to predation during nesting. Despite the strict protocols employed by the clinical staff to avoid the mal-imprinting of young birds on humans by utilizing camouflage, puppets for feeding and minimizing all human contact, the young pair of birds refused to remain wild. To avoid their being harmed, the pair was recaptured and have since altered the somewhat negative perception of vultures through educational presentations and flying demonstrations.

Turkey Vulture / Cathartes aura

Lesser Yellow-headed vulture / Cathartes burrovianus


FALCONS

Saker Falcon/Falco cherrug: With a wingspan of over 40 inches and a weight surpassing 2.5 pounds, the Saker Falcon is one of the largest falcons in the world. Found primarily in open, dry habitats of Northern Europe and Asia, these fast and powerful birds utilize their gravity-fueled stoops with speeds in excess of 100 mph to capture quarry primarily comprised of ground mammals and ground nesting birds such as partridge and quail. As with most falcons, the Saker has a long, narrow wing and a noticeably longer tail for navigation. Their heads are largely whitish in appearance with the typical falcon “moustache” under the eye to absorb sunlight and reduce glare. This species is highly prized by Arab falconers,  who may actually be causing declines in the species by removing large numbers of birds (including breeding aged females) from the wild each year during migration.

The Center’s trained Sakeret (male Saker) was bred in captivity in the UK in 1999 and was moved to the US in 2000. Following a season or two of training and flying for demonstrations, he was placed in a captive breeding program. Unfortunately, he did not show much interest in breeding and thus was returned to the Center in 2006 to be utilized for education. Currently, he is participating in demonstrations both on the Center campus and at off site locations. His aerial rolls and high speed stoops often produce audible gasps from amazed audiences of all ages.

Peregrine falcon / Falco peregrinus

Lanner falcon / Falco biarmicus

American kestrel / Falco sparverius


HAWKS

Red-tailed Hawk/Buteo jamaicensis: The Red-tailed hawk is probably the most commonly seen diurnal bird of prey in North America.  Found in a variety of fairly open habitats, Red-tailed hawks can be seen year round throughout the continental United States. They are often noticed perched on utility poles or dead trees near roadways watching for small to medium sized mammals, and are occasionally seen eating carrion by the highway. As one might imagine, many of the Red-tails that come through the Avian Medical Clinic have been involved in collisions with cars. While the adult’s red tail is often the first field mark for species identification, their dark “belly band” is often a better identifier as it is present in both juveniles and adults.

Red-tailed hawk “1038” has been part of the Center’s educational team for over ten years. When she arrived at the Center, her apparent injuries (as well as the accounts of those who found her near the highway) suggested that she had been hit by a car. Her radiograph supported this case but also revealed 13 small, round foreign bodies scattered throughout her wings, legs and torso: lead shotgun pellets. If ingested, lead is highly toxic to birds, but 1038 has remained quite healthy with several of the lead pellets lodged in soft tissue.

The first nine years of 1038’s role at the Center consisted primarily of school visits and educational presentations throughout South Carolina. Thousands of children and adults were awed by her size (nearly 1500g) and beauty. Currently, 1038 is enjoying her retirement from programs where she shares a Display Enclosure at the Center with another Red-tailed hawk. For the last two years, 1038 has produced eggs in her enclosure and last year she served as a surrogate parent for an orphaned Red-tailed hawk chick!

Cooper's hawk / Accipiter cooperii

Broad-winged hawk / Buteo platypterus

Sharp-shinned hawk / Accipiter striatus

OSPREY / Pandion  haliaetus
 

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