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SCC Audubon learns about birds of prey

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image SCC Audubon Club members traveled to the Birds of Prey Rehab Center. Photo Denise Rosen

Bird-lovers gain an insight into birds that prey.

The Florida Room was packed to near capacity for the January meeting of the Sun City Center Audubon Club, and those who attended were delighted to learn more about birds of prey. The presenters from the Audubon Birds of Prey Rehab Center brought a number of birds, including a bald eagle, an American kestrel, a screech owl, and a red-shouldered hawk.

They learned that the bald eagle got its name from the old English word “bald” that meant white-headed. Young eagles are all brown, and get their white head at about five years. The eagle they observed had a scissor beak that was noticed by a viewer of a webcam. He would not have been able to eat properly, so he was taken from the nest and had three surgeries to correct the problem. He was fed fish “milkshakes” since his beak had to be wired shut for a time.

Several other interesting facts are that birds of prey capture their food with their talons, while other birds use their beaks; vultures are the only birds of prey that have a sense of smell. If you find a baby eagle out of the nest, it is best to return it to the nest, if possible.

The American kestrel is a falcon and is dimorphic, meaning that the male and female are very different. The birds mate for life and migrate to our area in the winter months. The kestrel they saw was imprinted by humans so it cannot return to the wild.

The workers at the Center wear camouflage to avoid imprinting birds in their care.

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