Saturday, September 01, 2012

Hawk Mountain - The Early Fall Migrants and Vulture Appreciation Day

Today was the first day of September and a beautiful, warm, clear day for a visit to Hawk Mountain.

We arrived for Vulture Appreciation Day in time to see a fascinating talk on vultures given by a wildlife rehabilitation group. We found out that vultures are nature's sanitation mechanism, getting rid of dead wildlife, thereby keeping the environment safe from pathogens. The vulture's strong stomach acid keeps them safe and disease-free. The health of these magnificent birds was noticed by Native Americans who viewed them as a powerful source of healing.

We have learned many things from the vultures, including the aerodynamics of how they soar effortlessly on wind currents. Here our turkey vulture (appropriately named Hannibal) is showing off his beautiful wing span.

Hannibal looks proud to be a vulture today! Sadly, Hannibal was raised in captivity by someone who found him as a baby bird, and when finally released, did not have the necessary skills for survival as a vulture in the wild. He was found by a person who took him to the wildlife rehabilitation center. It is unfortunate that Hannibal cannot soar and survive in nature as he was meant to do, but, lacking that, he has played a role in our education about these helpful and necessary animals. The talk was a success, I now have a renewed appreciation for these birds and their role in a healthy environment!

Now time to head to North Lookout! Highlights included spotting broad winged hawks, merlins, even a bald eagle! (sadly, I missed the view of the eagle!). One treat was a flock of gregarious cedar waxwings, who briefly rested on a nearby small tree, then, in a flurry of wing beats, continued on their path.

Beautiful but hazy view of the River of Rocks and nearby countryside.


At 10:05 AM, Blogger Racn4acure said...

Thanks for sharing Anne. I love that place and hope to get back some year. It is fascinating. The photos of the turkey vulture are great - very interesting creature. I remember once while hiking with my dad when I was a kid coming upon a young vulture in a small cave in the mountains. He hissed impressively while we studied him for a minute, then let him be. Art

At 10:10 AM, Blogger Anne said...

Hi Art, thanks, glad you enjoyed the photos! How fascinating to come across a young vulture, great that you let him be, I understand vultures have impressive defense mechanisms!!!!

At 7:58 AM, Blogger Racn4acure said...

"Carrion birds" are pretty cool animals, although perhaps misunderstood. One of my greatest thrills in the outdoors was seeing several California condors - recently reintroducted in the wild from the brink of total extinction - soaring over the Grand Canyon. It was amazing.

At 9:20 PM, Blogger Anne said...

Hi Art, Sounds beautiful!!!!


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