SNN (ScrollingNetworkNews) ✿ ✿ Our Mel and Sydney returned to their nesting box with plenty of bonding occurring..but after 2.5 months of Sydney in the box from Dec 2013 to mid Feb 2014, the lack of prey gifts from Mel ( perhaps due to the severe and historic drought underway in California)and they have forgone the nesting process this year as many other raptors ✿ Compared to other owls of similar size, the Barn Owl has a much higher metabolic rate, requiring relatively more food. Pound for pound, Barn Owls consume more rodents – often regarded as pests by humans – than possibly any other creature. ✿ We remind viewers that sometimes owlets may not survive - the parents will dispose of things in "The Owl Way" -viewer discretion is advised, this is nature and the "Owl way". ✿ ~ ✿ “Animals, like us, are living souls. They are not things. They are not objects. Neither are they human. Yet they mourn. They love. They dance. They suffer. They know the peaks and chasms of being.” ― Gary Kowalski, The Souls of Animals ✿ Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius." ~ E.O. Wilson

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Red tailed hawks receiving flight cage training

This cage is designed for conditioning birds of prey that have recovered from injuries and are preparing for release back into the wild. It is unlike traditional flight cages in that it allows the birds to fly in a continuous circle rather than just from end to end of the typical long narrow flight cage. It is the first of its kind to be built in the VA area.
Adult birds that had survival skills before being injured are taken back to where they were found and released. But young birds may need additional support to make the transition from life in captivity to life in the wild. Without strong flight skills, the birds can’t hunt.
And if they can’t hunt, they can’t eat. And, if they can’t eat, survival becomes tentative. The flight cage will give the raptors a place to build up their flight muscles.

$100,000 for the cage was raised  primarily through grants. 

Called a “continuous flyway,” the exterior flying ring is 14 feet wide in a building that is approximately 65 feet by 50 feet. The oval interior allows birds to fly around and around to condition their muscles.  The walls of the cage are slats that allow airflow but look like a barrier. Raptors tend to fly straight into wire.

While all birds benefit from the space, birds of prey require the long flight path more than other birds do. The structure is only the second facility in Virginia that offers a space large enough for raptors.The other large flight cage is located at the Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro. 
There, birds have a narrow 100-foot-long cage where they can fly back and forth. About 80 percent of the birds of prey at the center have been hit by cars.