Fall 2011: Birds of Prey: A Detailed Look at Live Raptors

Fall 2011: Birds of Prey: A Detailed Look at Live Raptors


All Day

Event Type

Presented by Tom Ricardi,
Massachusetts Bird of Prey Rehabilitation Facility

Cooper’s Hawk Photo by Dan Kemp
Tom Ricardi’s conservation education program described the world of raptors in general and introduced several live birds of prey including an eagle, a falcon, an owl, and a hawk. Birds of prey include some 292 species of daytime feeders is include falcons, hawks, eagles and vultures as well as a number of owl species that feed at night. With sharp talons, hooked beaks and keen eyesight, birds of prey are immediately distinguishable from all other birds. These birds hunt for food primarily during their flight using their keen senses, especially superior eyesight. From the earliest times, birds of prey have occupied a special place in human feelings towards the natural world, symbolizing freedom, power and nobility. But because of the raptors need large undeveloped habitats there is concern for their survival.

At the Massachusetts Bird of Prey Rehabilitation Facility in Conway, MA, Tom Ricardi has successfully bred and rehabilitated many of these raptors. This private, non-profit project’s function is the care and rehabilitation of birds of prey for eventual release back to the wild. Another function of the project is captive breeding in which permanently injured birds that cannot be released are used as breeding stock. Species such as bald eagles, kestrels and other falcons, barn owls, red-tailed hawks have produced offspring for the reintroduction to bolster the wild population.

In April 1989, an eagle hatched at the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Facility was placed in a wild eagle’s nest at Quabbin Reservoir in hopes that the adult eagles would accept the chick as their own. They did and by August the young eagles had fledged. The fostered eagle found a mate and has successfully produced families of her own ever since. This was the first official report of a captive-bred eagle nesting in the wild.