Thursday, August 9, 2018

Sailing SitRep 2018 #2 - The Raptors

Bird Handler with Raptor - Barred Owl
Vancouver Island, BC

We reached Ganges, Salt Spring Island, BC this afternoon around 1 p.m. after a 4 hour motor sail from Maple Bay, Vancouver Island. Yesterday in Maple Bay we went on a shore excursion to a nearby Raptor Sanctuary.  Raptors are birds of prey like owls, hawks and eagles.  There were examples of each of the above species but crows, vultures and even Australian Kookaburra's were represented.  Visitors to the sanctuary were invited to don a leather falconers' glove in order to hold the birds for a "close encounter".  At one end of the wildlife reserve there was a "flying field".  There were benches to sit on while watching the various raptor birds go through their paces of flying, swooping down on the crowd and catching "treats" mid flight that were thrown into the air by the bird handlers.  I was amazed to see the huge birds like Bald eagles, Golden eagles, Harris hawks and Barred Owls fly freely around the forests and then come swooping towards the crowd from between the trees.  It was a spectacular display.  I was so mesmerized  that I forgot to take pictures or videos of the birds in flight.  I did take a few photos while walking around the displays however.  Please see the photos below and I will have more comments to follow:

Visitors to "The Raptors" looking at a bird in a display cage

"Elton" the Spectacled Owl
visiting with some Guests

Great Horned Owl
with one eye closed

American Kestrel [falcon]
its plumage was fabulous

Back view of the American Kestral Falcon shown above

Barred Owl catching her breath
 just after she finished her show

I was very impressed with the whole operation at The Raptor Sanctuary.  Everyone knows the greencrow is partial to birds of all kinds--but I had no idea these predatory birds were so social and so intelligent.  All of them seemed to genuinely enjoy showing off their talents.  The bird handlers seemed to have a very close relationship with the birds, calling them each by name and expressing delight in their aerial acrobatics.  The last bird in the flight show was a peregrine falcon called "Dash" who flew at an incredible speed dropping from about six stories up to the ground in about 3 seconds. Peregrine Falcons are the fastest species on earth.

Peregrine Falcon
fastest animal species
on Planet Earth
Photo from Wikipedia

Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of "Dash" or of "Orion" the Harris Hawk--who flew at top speed, deftly weaving its way in and out through the crowd and within inches of my head!  The Bird Handler informed us that "Orion" also works part time at the local landfill, scaring off the seagulls...just by making his presence known.

Photo of Harris Hawk
Courtesy of Wikipedia

Throughout my life I've seen many wildlife displays and shows, including alligators, elephants and whales.  But the show put on by the birds at The Raptors sanctuary exceeds most of them in presentation and accessibility to the wildlife.  I highly recommend it to readers if they ever happen to visit Vancouver Island in the summer.  It's well worth the drive .

Tomorrow we plan to take it easy here in the hippy, dippy town of Ganges.  There is a very active artist colony here on Salt Spring Island and I always enjoy visiting the art galleries and craft shops.


Northerntruthseeker said...

Hey Crow... I am back on blogger... at least for the moment...

I put out an article this morning talking about my time in Google Prison...

Thanks for your support


greencrow said...


Glad you're back. You know how well a hockey team would do without it's best defenseman...well, that's how I felt when you were "taken out". I put a comment on your blog and will post something here about censorship on the Internet.