Raptors Rule the Avian World at ASRI’s Raptor Weekend

Talons, Hooked Beaks, and Keen Eyesight on Display

Razor-sharp talons, hooked beaks, highly developed eyesight, and extraordinary strength were on display this weekend during the Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s (ASRI) annual Raptor Weekend in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Eagles, owls, falcons, and hawks took center stage, leaving visitors with a better understanding of why raptors are the rulers of the avian world.

Equinox, a female Peregrine Falcon and education ambassador at Christine's Critters
Equinox, a female Peregrine Falcon and education ambassador at Christine’s Critters

This was intoBirds’ first year attending the event.

Saturday was a jam-packed schedule filled with informative programs, seeing stunning raptors up close, and enjoying the camaraderie and energy of like-minded, bird-loving comrades

Christine’s Critters Dazzles with Amazing Birds of Prey

Our favorite wildlife rehabilitator, Christine Peyreigne of Christine’s Critters of Weston, Connecticut, was showing her amazing birds of prey in the main presentation tent.

And fielding questions from the audience.

Christine holding her male NortherSaw-whet Owl, Mr. Higgins
Christine holding her male Northern Saw-whet Owl, Mr. Higgins

Christine’s amazing critters keep the audience on the edge of their seat wondering what bird she’s showing next.

And there’s a bird of prey for everyone

Bald Eagle Stuns the Crowd

From smallest to largest, the audience learns about Christine’s special winged critters.

Christine’s bird playlist includes:

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Eastern Screech-Owl

Broad-winged Hawk (special concern species in CT)

Meet some of Christine's Critters Top: Eastern Screech Owl, Bald Eagle and Cooper's Hawk. Bottom: Northern saw-whet owl, Northern Goshawk, and Broad-winged Hawk
Meet some of Christine’s Critters Top: Eastern Screech Owl, Bald Eagle and Cooper’s Hawk. Bottom: Northern saw-whet owl, Northern Goshawk, and Broad-winged Hawk

American Kestrel

Cooper’s Hawk

Northern Goshawk (threatened species in CT)

Peregrine Falcon (threatened species in CT)

Bald Eagle (threatened species in CT)

Christine holding her male American Kestrel, Chip
Christine holding her male American Kestrel, Chip

One by one as Christine reveals each bird, the crowd’s resounding oohs and aahs build.

Until finally Aurora, the majestic Bald Eagle hops off the perch in her carrier and on to Christine’s glove.

The audience is left stunned, realizing they see our national emblem before their eyes.

Christine of Christine's Critters with Aurora, her stunning Bald Eagle
Christine of Christine’s Critters with Aurora, her stunning Bald Eagle

Aurora is a stunning bird, and if you’re fortunate enough to see an eagle fly by in the wild, then you realize it’s a privilege to see a Bald Eagle up close.

Christine has a story to share about each bird and how it came into her care.

READ: FEMALE FALCONER GIVES INJURED BIRDS OF PREY SECOND CHANCE OF LIFE IN THE WILD

Portraits of Birds of Prey

Traer Scott of Traer Scott Photography, and author of Raptors: Portraits of Birds of Prey was giving a lecture in the auditorium and was signing copies of her book.

Raptors: Portraits of Birds of Prey is a dramatic collection of photographs of birds of prey taken in the studio
Raptors: Portraits of Birds of Prey is a dramatic collection of photographs of birds of prey taken in the studio

Raptors: Portraits of Birds of Prey is a dramatic collection of photographs of birds of prey taken in the studio.

The book is much more than an intimate collection of portraits of birds of prey.

Traer excels at capturing each raptor in a pose that best portrays their species.

Vermont Institute of Natural Science's beautiful Barred Owl
Vermont Institute of Natural Science’s beautiful Barred Owl

VINS Raptor Flight Demonstrations

Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) of Quechee, Vermont was running raptor flight demonstrations behind the Audubon building next to the open field.

VINS dazzled the crowd with their amazing raptors and exciting flight demonstrations.

Jim of Vermont Institute of Natural Science with Red-tailed Hawk on glove
Jim of Vermont Institute of Natural Science with Red-tailed Hawk on glove

Their raptors included a Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, and Harris’ Hawk navigating through the crowds seated on the lawn.

They also showcased their Eastern Screech-Owl and Barred Owl much to the crowd’s enjoyment.

Nature Sing-a-long

Singing (not bird song) was part of the festivities with a nature sing-a-long with Mother Nature.

Jim of Vermont Institute of Natural Science with a talkative American Kestrel on glove
Jim of Vermont Institute of Natural Science with a talkative American Kestrel on glove

Bird Banding and Recovery of the Peregrine Falcon

Thomas French, Ph.D., a member of the Nuttall Ornithological Club of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and bird bander, was speaking about the recovery of the Peregrine Falcon.

His work with Peregrine Falcons spans 30 years.

He talked about the impact of bird banding and how it’s helping these endangered birds (Peregrine are endangered in Massachusetts) turn things around.

Vermont Institute of Natural Science's stunning raptors: Eastern Screech Owl, Broad-winged Hawk, and Red-tailed Hawk
Vermont Institute of Natural Science’s stunning raptors: Eastern Screech Owl, Broad-winged Hawk, and Red-tailed Hawk

Raptors and Surprise Pop-ups

There were plenty of surprises throughout the day.

The Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s held special surprise pop-up raptor presentations throughout the day.

We were lucky to catch the Great Horned Owl pop-up, and it was a delight to see this powerful owl up close.

READ: WHY EVERYONE MUST LOVE OWLS

The great horned owl, also known as the tiger owl or the hoot owl, is a large owl native to the Americas
The Great Horned Owl, also known as the Tiger Owl or the Hoot Owl, is a large owl native to the Americas

Perils Facing Raptors

Most importantly, attendees gained a greater understanding about the perils that humanity brings to birds, and birds of prey.

Every bird ambassador tells a story.

The educational aspect of the program leaves a lasting impression and brings to light perils that we can be preventing.

Such as:

-The importance of using window decals for preventing window strikes.

-Not throwing garbage outside car windows causing birds of prey to be struck by passing cars.

-Not using rat poison (rodenticide) and creating a toxic food web killing birds of prey, other wildlife, our family pets and anything or anyone coming in contact with the poison.

Avoid using rat poison (anticoagulant rodenticides) around your home. Hawks that eat poisoned prey may die from hemorrhaging
Avoid using rat poison (anticoagulant rodenticides) around your home. Hawks that eat poisoned prey may die from hemorrhaging

-The severe threat lead poisoning poses to eagles and other birds of prey.

Lead pellets left inside innards of large game mammals are being discarded by hunters and ingested by avian predators and scavenging wild birds.

Resulting in lead poisoning and eagles and other birds of prey are paying the price with their lives.

That’s a wrap for this year’s Raptor Weekend, but first a few thoughts about The Audubon Society of Rhode Island.

Audubon Society of Rhode Island

The Audubon Society of Rhode Island is an independent Audubon and is not part of the National Audubon Society.

Attendance at their events directly supports the care and feeding of their avian ambassadors.

Sharon Riley, education specialist at Audubon Society of Rhode Island with Finn, a Red-tailed Hawk education ambassador
Sharon Riley, education specialist at Audubon Society of Rhode Island with Finn, a Red-tailed Hawk education ambassador

These birds are used in educational programs at schools, civic groups, and other public events.

The Audubon Society of Rhode Island is a fantastic non-profit organization doing their part to protect birds and other wildlife that bring us such great joy.

We strongly encourage you to support them and make sure you stop and visit on your travels to New England.

IntoBirds will definitely be going back next year to enjoy Raptor Weekend.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see more photos from Raptor Weekend.

Now get outside and enjoy seeing the birds of prey around where you live.

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