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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Sedgwick County Park, Wichita, Kansas, USA

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Sedgwick County Park, Wichita, Kansas, USA
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Registered: December 2017
City/Town/Province: Rogers
Posts: 1
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"Actually, this is a Harris Hawk. They are native to South Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Unlike most birds of prey, Harris Hawks will hunt and live together in gregarious familial or associative groups, delegating different roles based on experience for taking down prey and maintaining territory, much like wolves do." This litany would continue on for a number of minutes, switching between the different species of raptors (predatory birds) present, to an audience that ranged from a transfixed two-year-old in their stroller to folks who had never been so close to any animal in their lives. The stream of factoids falling upon a rapt audience every five minutes usually stemmed from a misconception as to whether the hawk I was holding was an eagle or a falcon.
When attentive listeners had their fill of knowledge, I would invite them to join us later in the day for one of the shows that would allow them to see all the birds we had brought, hear their stories, and experience a flight demonstration by Valkyrie, the best hunter in the group and face of Royal Gauntlet Birds of Prey (RG) for 14 years. I first experienced this organization's work of rescue, rehabilitation, and release in 2013, and have had the privilege of working with them for the past two years. Through my experiences with this group, I and other volunteers have learned a deep and abiding love for the animals we have worked with and cared for, and subsequently have been able to pass that love onto the audiences we appear before, many of coming back year after year to give their support and appreciation for what RG has done.
This year I was able to participate in four different shows, in Oklahoma, Kansas, South Dakota, and Missouri, ranging from 4 to 20 volunteers. Individuals driving or carpooling from across the Midwest to spend three to four days, transporting, prepping meals, cleaning cages, handling, and learning all about the birds that were present for a given expo or fair where we were presenting. For eleven hours each day, the group would present to each passerby at the events in between the two or three forty-five minute to hour long shows. Each day crowds of around 50 people would attend shows and hundreds more would come between shows to learn about raptor biology, ecology, behavior, and to just look at the birds. With a hawk on my arm, I taught more people the importance of environmental responsibility than any science class had imparted to my listeners. Showing examples of proper stewardship made such an impact on the people I encountered. The noticeable difference it made in their lives to witness wildlife up close only strengthens my resolve to continue my involvement with the animals of this world and the environments they inhabit for the rest of my life.
Date: December 31, 2017 Views: 4191 File size: 14.7kb, 234.9kb : 2048 x 1365
Hours Volunteered: 4,320
Volunteers: 20
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 21 & 21 to 63
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