The DePauw University Conservation Club co-sponsored our first event this past weekend. The DePauw University Nature Park held the “Birds of Prey” event Saturday April, 10. Mark Loring Booth, of the Take Flight Program, was kind enough to put on a show for the crowd. The Take Flight program is aimed at educating folks about birds of prey.
Booth has over 20 years experience working with raptors. He is licensed to rescue large birds of prey and to introduce them in educational programs. Mark’s main bird is a Red-Tailed Hawk named Jack, who is blind in one eye. Mark went on to explain that Jack’s depth perception is way off, to the point that he would stand no chance of survival in the wild. Mark then went on to explain some features that Jack possessed, such as that “mean” look that hawks have. Hawks have a very large ridge above their eyes, which serves to protect their eyes from the sun. Another fun fact is that hawks eyes get larger further back in their head. Mark went on to explain and show a few owls and the American Kestrel, better known as the “Fluffy the Sparrow Killer”. Mark explained how Fluffy bobbed his head to triangulate distance, an adaptation that makes their hunting strategy so effective.
Overall this was a great program for the public and nature park staff alike. Mark did a great job at explaining the many questions thrown at him in regards to birds of prey. Look for more events like this sponsored by the DePauw University Conservation Club and the DePauw University Nature Park.