Mountain Kids went to the Española Wildlife Center today, but first we worked with clay, glass marbles, pebbles, stones, wildflowers and twigs to create fairy houses, or crazy houses! The kids loved playing with the clay and making their own creations.
The Wildlife Center focused the kids’ attention on birds – particularly raptors. The three main characteristics of raptors are that they have powerful hooked beaks, strong talons/feet, and amazing eyesight – all which serve them to capture prey. The kids held their breath as – one by one – the Center guides introduced them to different birds, starting with a red-tailed hawk, followed by a peregrine falcon, the fastest animal on earth (yes, it is faster than a cheetah!). They also met two owls and a turkey vulture.
After learning some basic facts about these birds and getting a good close up look at them, the kids toured the cages of various owls and hawks. They saw a beautiful American Bald Eagle, an Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Goshawk, Red-tailed Hawk (to name just a few!) and two bobcats.
The animals at the center are there because they have been wounded, often by cars, and can no longer live in the wild. A strong message came out of the visit that we all need to be more aware of the impact we humans have on the animals with which we share our land and skies. The kids asked a lot of questions and often knew the answers the questions the guides asked. It was a magical day!