Friday, November 16, 2007

The Debut!

He arrived in May, a nervous, jumpy , frightened fellow. Like all of our other educational ambassadors, this little Red-tailed Hawk has an injury that will permanently prevent his release to the wild. Unlike most red-tails, however, he is a chocolate brown color with a russet red tail, what is known as a dark morph. About 10% of all soaring hawks have this plumage. He had been hit by a car, and is missing the tip of one wing.

One of my favorite things to do is to work with a bird, helping it to become comfortable around me, and then around others. The ultimate reward is being able to present the bird to the public at an education program or an outreach event. Some birds adapt quickly, while others may take years, and some simply are never able to overcome their innate fear of humans.

At first, he just tried to get away from me. But, it quickly became apparent, that eating was his most favored activity. And, he was so motivated by food, that he trusted a little more each day. Little by little, he gained a bit of trust, until he finally came to the glove to take food. Now, he waits and watches for me to open the back door.

We presented him in public for the first time on November 10. It was a little scary, but he adapted well. Now, he doesn't have another program until 2008. It will get easier and easier.

No comments: