Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Travel Blog: Greater Yellowstone Raptor Experience

      I have found myself on the road again and back in Yellowstone country which by my way of thinking makes me a lucky girl! If you only ever take one road trip, Yellowstone should be the one! Especially with kids, which is what we did last summer. The whole lot of us became junior rangers in both Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, That's right, I display my badges with pride. This time around I am exploring the lands surrounding the great national parks. 
      While reading the latest Evanovich series and patiently waiting for Yogi to get off work a feeling came over me. It was telling me to look out my hotel window, So I did and what I found made me do a double take. A man was holding a hawk, I snatched up my camera, attached the animal lens and walked/jogged to the scene. I found a somewhat shady spot and began shooting the hawk while a woman was using an interactive technique to teach a group of children about the animals she had with her, how they came to be in her life and what their wild counterparts do to survive. I quickly became enthralled and couldn't believe my luck! A few weeks ago I decided to write a raptor into my book. This was just the sort of information I would have been googling like crazy for, instead I was able to learn it all in a fantastically unexpected way. 

      First was Isham he is a Red-tailed Hawk who lost his right eye some years ago and spent many years in New Mexico dazzling the minds of young children there. Now he is an Avian Ambassador for the Greater Yellowstone Raptor Experience at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming. 

Speed eating victor, Hayabusa      

Then came Hayabusa, The Peregrine Falcon aka the fasted animal in the world. While performing the stoop they can reach speeds of over 200 mph! This beautiful bird has captivating eyes and her win in the speed eating contest left me with goosebumps. A young volunteer had to peel and eat a small orange before Hayabusa could eat a whole mouse. She came from Tucson, AZ and has a permanently damaged wing. 

To my great delight the next bird of prey to emerge from the cages was a Great Horned Owl named Teasdale. My love for owls is immense, I was told by an Iroquoian woman that they are my animal of protection. It is her belief that each person has three animals that are bonded to their soul(Protection, Love and Guidance) and one that strikes fear into your soul. She didn't have to tell me which animal that was! Out comes Teasdale and he is not a happy camper. The day is too warm for his liking and the song birds are swarming about. Still I was able to get over 20 great shots of him. Teasdale's wing was injured in Utah during avalanche season so his aid was delayed and now his wing will never heal appropriately. The thing that struck me most about him was his transparency. You could tell by his body language and eyes what he was thinking and feeling. I even have one shot where he appears to be bored. 

Suli giving her LMFAO
"I'm Sexy and I know it" pose

Last up was the Turkey Vulture Suli(Sue-Lee) who was found on a farm in Kansas. She was thought to be abandoned and was raised in captivity. She was the funniest of the birds, showing off her impressive wingspan anytime a camera was raised in her directions. Suli doesn't know that she is a bird but rather thinks herself to be human. She has an obvious love and mutual trust with her handler. At one point she she gives her a look so as to say “ The crowd is loving us!” and we were!

Each of the Birds has their own Facebook page which you can find here as well as other info on how and where to see them for yourself.... 

They also have a blog:

Here are a few more Pics.... Enjoy!
I am Lord Vulturmort! Only kidding children!
The yellow is so striking!
Can you see me?

Wait! Why did Haya get a mouse?

1 comment:

  1. What an entertaining, and wonderful description of our GYRE program! I am glad you looked out the window, and loved what you saw and heard.