On Saturday D. and I went to a special presentation at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge all about birds of prey, given by Sulphur Creek Nature Center, with live birds up-close and personal.
Arriving early, we took some time to take a short walk on the flat trail around the Learning Center pavilion prior to the show. At least I could be sitting down during the hour-long presentation.
Glad I left mine at home.
A look toward San Francisco Bay, where the Dumbarton Bridge rises in the background.
A great egret stands watch at the edge of the salt marsh.
Looking west over the slough and salt marsh.
Tarplant is almost done blooming.
A rusty remnant of the salt-harvesting days lies abandoned next to a trail.
Saltbush is in flower.
And now it's showtime. Here is a stuffed Red-Tailed Hawk, whose sharp beak and talons we can peruse at our leisure.
Crates containing live raptors awaiting their turn to meet their audience rest on a table in the corner.
Our first raptor is Westley the Barn Owl. Barn Owls eat mostly small mammals, particularly rats, mice, voles, lemmings, and other rodents, swallowing their prey whole.
Westley has a bad wing and is cared for at Sulphur Creek Nature Center.
Next we meet Tiberius the Western Screech Owl, all of 8" tall and in a bad mood today. His species eats mammals, birds, worms, insects, and crayfish.
Next, Kea the Red-Shouldered Hawk flaps nervously to regain her balance as Tania from the Sulphur Creek Nature Center introduces her to us.
Kea has a missing talon and a cloudy eye. She was brought to the Sulphur Creek Nature Center as an injured adult and has been cared for there ever since.
Kea is beautiful and fierce. Her species eats mostly small mammals, lizards, snakes, and amphibians.
Lastly we meet Olive the ring-necked dove, an example of a prey animal. Doves eat mainly seed and cereal grain as well as some berries and bugs. Her straight, slender beak and tiny, weak claws are a sharp contrast to the raptors here today.