Chirps and Cheeps

A Photo Journal of My Birding Experiences & Observations

My birding blog site

  A Day at Hawk Creek Nature Center

Published: July 23, 2011
Tags: Parks and Preserves, Hawk Creek, East Aurora, NY, Bald Eagle, Gyrfalcon, Barn Owl, Harris's Hawk

This weekend, Hawk Creek Wildlife Center in East Aurora, NY, hosted an event called their Renaissance Festival. They're only open to the public 4 times a year and since I've been very interested to check them out, I decided to make the short trip out there along with 3 of the oldest grandkiddies.

The center is one of the largest not-for-profit raptor rehabilitation facilities in New York State, serving over 500 patients each year. In addition, they sponsor over 2500 educational programs each year, inspiring an appreciation of nature.

I especially enjoyed the close-up view of one of the Barn Owls, a life list addition for me. Did you know the cone-like area that surrounds his face acts to amplify sound waves - AND - one ear is a little above the other - so he not only hears horizontally in stereo like we do, but vertically as well, enabling him to hunt by sheer sound alone! Each creature brings such amazement to me!

The Center breeds permanently injured Barn Owl couples and has a release program where they will release the babies into the wild at the appropriate time. Once endangered due to pesticides in our area, the Barn Owls are making a nice come-back, thanks to the Center.

The hawk / falcon show was amazing. I had no idea how smart those birds were! We enjoyed some close-ups of permanently injured Bald Eagles. One, having been hit by a car, and the other, used for target practice, were no longer able to fly. The center has been able to successfully release offspring into the wild from the pair.

In spite of the near 90 degree temps, we had a great time. And the grandkiddies?  Well, they really loved the bounce house the most!

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A 4 year old male Gyrfalcon. This species is from the arctic and can survive temps as cold as -70 degrees!

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The 21 year old injured female Bald Eagle who was used as target practice.

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The Barn Owl, my favorite of the day!

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Harris's Hawk, one of the stars of the falconry show.

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3 of our grandchildren sizing themselves up to an eagle's wingspan. I didn't realize how big eagles could get!

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And the kids' favorite part of the day: the bounce house!

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