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Learning spreads its wings at Henderson

Education was flying high at Henderson Elementary last week as the students participated in a HawkQuest program.

HawkQuest is a non-profit Colorado organization that provides unique learning experiences for audiences as they get up close views of some of America's greatest birds of prey.

There were four different birds of prey presented at the program - a Great-Horned Owl, a Harris' Hawk, a Prairie Falcon, and a Golden Eagle. The students were

able to get a first hand look at the size of the birds' talons and the span of their wings, including the Golden Eagle with its six-foot wing span.

The presenter told the students about the importance of birds of prey in the ecosystem and the dangers they face today for survival. The highlight of the program is a free flight demonstration by the Harris' Hawk. The bird flew from one handler to another across the length of the gymnasium.

All of the birds in the program are maintained in captivity because they would be unable to survive in the wild because of a permanent injury or other reason.The presenter told the story of the Golden

Eagle to make a point to the audience about the importance of leaving wild animals in the wild. The eagle is perfectly healthy with no physical defects. It was found in Idaho in a campground walking up to people. It was starving to death. Officials who picked up the bird and nursed it back to health suspected that the bird was taken from its nest as a fledgling and raised in captivity. When the bird reached its full-size at four-months of age, they speculate whoever had it decided they could no longer handle it and released it. The problem, she explained, is that baby eagles are taught to hunt by their parents. Hunting is not instinctive for them. This young male was taken before it learned how to hunt and had lost its fear of humans. It could never return to the wild.

The program was sponsored by area radio station 99.5 The Hawk.


For information about HawkQuest, including how to book a program or to become a volunteer, call (303) 690-6959.

Posted 03/04/01

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