Virtual Discovery Station: Raptors – Hawks & Owls

By volunteer

White Redtail Hawk

Bernheim provides great habitat for many species of raptors. It’s not uncommon to see Red-tail Hawks gliding over the Big Prairie or perched in a nearby tree scouting for lunch.  In the wet bottom lands of Wilson Creek you might hear or see Red-shoulder Hawks. If you’ve been on some of our amazing Creatures of the Night programs with Volunteer Naturalist, Bill Napper, you may have heard screech owls from the Canopy Tree Walk or Southern Barred Owls calling from deep in the woods. Perhaps you have been a guest who watched a real life nature drama from inside our Wildlife Observation Room, as a Coopers Hawk snagged a feathered feast from the feeding yard. Perhaps these hawks think our bird feeding station is their personal “smorgasbird”.

Great horned owl

Bernheim’s large protected area provides winter feeding range for both Bald Eagles, and the much rarer Golden Eagles.

Questions to Ponder at Bernheim: If you are lucky enough to see a raptor at Bernheim, be sure to notice any distinctive features, and its relative size. What else can you notice about this bird? What is its location and what it was doing? Was it simply flying over the Big Prairie, or was it roosting in a tree? Some raptors like the American Kestrel, hover over potential prey. Does that hovering behavior remind you of anything? Do you wonder how a hawk can find a small mouse far below?

At Home Activities: Make a Hawk or Eagle Kite YouTube Video 

Links to Learn More:
Bernheim Golden Eagles
The Raptor Center
How to differentiate Eagles, Hawks, Kites

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