Wednesday, October 6, 2010

History and Culture by Bicycle Part 211: ROYAL GAUNTLET BIRDS OF PREY

The Royal Gauntlet Birds of Prey rescues sick, injured, lost and unwanted birds of prey. They raise and take care of birds that are too young to care for themselves, adolescent birds and mature adult birds who need help. They provide medical care, rehabilitation, and training with the eventual hope the birds will return to the wild.

Royal Gauntlet receives calls from rescue organizations, departments of natural resources, law enforcement agency's and private owners when there is a bird of prey in need of care, training to be returned to the wild or simply unwanted.

Some of the birds will never be able to return to the wild. They have lost their natural fear of humans, thus making it too much of a risk or have become imprinted on a person and will not leave the care of humans.

They are licensed professionals and remind everyone that it takes special permits to do what they do.

During the weekend of Oct. 2nd and 3rd at the annual Sioux City Riverssance Festival the blog author had the pleasure of seeing these birds had the pleasure of seeing the Harris Hawk in flight, held the Eurasian Owl on his arm, saw the smallest of the birds of prey the American Kestrel and saw a bird of prey indigenous to his local, area the Red Tail Hawk.

The blog author has had a couple of interesting encounters with the Red Tail Hawk. Both were when he riding his bike on 2 different trails. The first was on a trail called the Raccon River Trail, or RRVT. While riding on the trail between 2 of the towns he saw something along the edge of the trail moving but could not tell what it was. All of a sudden as he got closer a good size bird flew up and away on the right side of him and the bike. He saw the obvious red coloration and rather wide wing span as this beautiful took flight. The bird had caught a prey and was eating it. When the blog author returned from the other direction the prey was gone.

At the time the blog author did not know what species of bird this was. He researched it and found it was one of Iowa's largest birds of prey, the Red Tail Hawk. He also found out he is lucky the hawk did not fly into him and the bike by accident with 8 very sharp talons.

The second encounter was on a trail in Sioux City along the river front. The blog author was riding on the trail he saw a Red Tail Hawk perched at the top of a lamp post scanning the ground. The hawk then took off from the post and appeared to be coming for a landing on the ground. All of a sudden the blog author saw a squirrel dart across the trail about 50' in front of the bike. The red tail all of a sudden swoops down, grabs the squirrel, and takes off with the prey in its talons.

Web site: Royal Gauntlet Birds of Prey