Hawk Mountain - The Early Fall Migrants and Vulture Appreciation Day
Today was the first day of September and a beautiful, warm, clear day for a visit to Hawk Mountain.
We arrived for Vulture Appreciation Day in time to see a fascinating talk on vultures given by a wildlife rehabilitation group. We found out that vultures are nature's sanitation mechanism, getting rid of dead wildlife, thereby keeping the environment safe from pathogens. The vulture's strong stomach acid keeps them safe and disease-free. The health of these magnificent birds was noticed by Native Americans who viewed them as a powerful source of healing.
We have learned many things from the vultures, including the aerodynamics of how they soar effortlessly on wind currents. Here our turkey vulture (appropriately named Hannibal) is showing off his beautiful wing span.
Hannibal looks proud to be a vulture today! Sadly, Hannibal was raised in captivity by someone who found him as a baby bird, and when finally released, did not have the necessary skills for survival as a vulture in the wild. He was found by a person who took him to the wildlife rehabilitation center. It is unfortunate that Hannibal cannot soar and survive in nature as he was meant to do, but, lacking that, he has played a role in our education about these helpful and necessary animals. The talk was a success, I now have a renewed appreciation for these birds and their role in a healthy environment!
Now time to head to North Lookout! Highlights included spotting broad winged hawks, merlins, even a bald eagle! (sadly, I missed the view of the eagle!). One treat was a flock of gregarious cedar waxwings, who briefly rested on a nearby small tree, then, in a flurry of wing beats, continued on their path.
Beautiful but hazy view of the River of Rocks and nearby countryside.