MEET OUR RAPTOR AMBASSADORS
Sky is a beautiful adult female Red-Tailed Hawk that has also been with Earth Conservation Corps for quite some time. She is non-releasable due to an accident when she was a hatchling that led to a damaged wing. Although she cannot fly, she is a happy and healthy raptor!
Red-Tailed Hawks are found throughout America: they are in every state but Hawaii! They are not a species of concern. They are easy to spot with their distinctive reddish-orange tail feathers.
For in-depth facts about Red-Tailed Hawks, CLICK HERE!
What is a Raptor?
A raptor is a bird of prey. Unlike other meat-eating (carnivorous) birds, all raptors hunt using their sharp talons, grabbing their next meal with their feet. Other than this, there are three traits that make a bird a raptor:
1. Binocular vision. To help them spot their prey while flying hundreds of feet above the ground, all raptors have large eyes that can "zoom in" on food. A bald eagle can see a mouse in the grass from seven football fields away.
2. Extra neck bones. In order to be able to see prey, raptors evolved not to be able to turn their eyes in their sockets. Instead, birds of prey have twice as many neck bones as humans, allowing them to turn their heads 270 degrees.
3. A sharp, hooked beak. Raptors all have beaks specifically built to be able to rip, tear, and eat food.
Petunia is an adult female Harris Hawk. Her hatch year was 1996, making her almost as old as the ECC itself. She has been with Earth Conservation Corps for over 15 years, and is non-releasable due to being raised in captivity.
Harris Hawks are native to the Southwestern United States. Like other raptors, they eat rodents, birds, and snakes. They are one of the most common birds used for falconry in the US, and are not a species of concern (not endangered.)
For in-depth facts about Harris Hawks, CLICK HERE!
Mr. Hoots is a male Eurasian Eagle Owl that came to Earth Conservation Corps when he was just four years old. Now, he is the twenty-seven-year-old "grandpa" of our aviary. He is non-releasable due to an accident that rendered him unable to fly long distances.
There are many factors that can impact the lifespan of raptors in the wild, both human and environmental. Because of this, most only live five to eight years. However, when kept in a safe, monitored environment, raptors can live for a very long time - just like Mr. Hoots!
For in-depth facts about Eurasian Eagle Owls, CLICK HERE!
Gloria is a female American Kestrel. Female American Kestrels are easy to spot with their red and black barred wings and tail. They are the most widespread falcons in North America - and the smallest! Gloria is non-releasable due to being captive-bred.
There are four distinct traits that define a raptor, the most important being their talons. All raptors hunt not with their beaks, but with their feet: First, they catch prey, and then use their sharp beak (another trait) to tear and eat. The other two traits are their binocular vision and extra neck bones.
To learn more in-depth facts about the American Kestrels, CLICK HERE!
Liberty & Justice are bald eagles from our eaglecam.org monitoring program.* Since reintroducing Bald Eagles to the nation's capital, we have continued to encourage DC citizens to join us in the fight for eagle conservation.
*Note: eaglecam.org will return shortly, along with additional eagle education programs!