Friday, May 27, 2016

What Did Rockford Middle School Learn at The Raptor Center?

TRC Interpretive Naturalist Dan Hnilicka
took guesses as to how much weight the egg
could hold.

Students at Rockford Middle School Center for Environmental Studies recently visited The Raptor Center.

They took part in an experiment as part their curriculum learning about food webs, trophic levels, and bioaccumulation. 

A piece was used to help balance the weights that would
be put on the egg.

Healthy peregrine falcon eggshells can support much more than the less-than-two-pound female who sits on them.  However, if the shells are thinner, as an indirect result of chemical ingestion by the bird, the eggs cannot support the weight and are crushed. 
Chicken eggs, very similar in size to peregrine falcon eggs, were used in the demonstration.  This visit is the culmination of a year-long program where The Raptor Center staff brings live raptors into the classroom to give students up-close experiences as they learn about important scientific concepts.




Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Learning About Red-tailed Hawks

Tucker shows off his diorama.  It has
pictures of hawk adaptations.

We had to share a creative and well-researched project by Tucker C.  His first grade class from Burroughs Elementary School created dioramas.  Tucker came to The Raptor Center to do some research on red-tailed hawks. 
Tucker's work shows a healthy habitat for hawks.

Tucker did some more reading on his topic.
 He also featured two of TRC's winged ambassadors on his project; Casper, and one of our new red-tails who does not have a name yet

You can see from the answers to the questions (a part of his project) that he learned a lot about hawks.

Thank you to Tucker and his family for sharing this.  We hope it sparked a lifetime of learning about raptors and the world we share together. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

. . . and More Molting at The Raptor Center

We introduced one of our new education winged ambassadors, a red-tailed hawk, to you recently.  She has now started molting in some of her adult tail feathers!

With rare exception, raptors have 12 tail feathers.  You can see that the middle two feathers are the ones that have dropped, and are now molting in the new, adult, red feathers.

This is one of the feathers that dropped!

This is a photo, taken with a macro lens, of the detail
in the feather.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Molting at The Raptor Center

Casper the red-tailed hawk.

Gladdie the bald eagle.
There are three main activities in which raptors (and all birds) spend large amounts of energy in an annual cycle; migration (or some type of seasonal movement), raising families, and molting. 

Molting, which is replacing old feathers with new, is an activity that is well underway at The Raptor Center.  Here are a few pics of some of our education birds. 
Samantha the great horned owl

Friday, April 15, 2016

TRC Celebrates Volunteers - Youth RaptorCorp

The Youth RaptorCorp Class of 2015-2016

Our final post for Volunteer Week was written by Nickie M.  Nickie was part of a team of three Education volunteers who planned and taught the topics for our most recent Youth RaptorCorp sessions, TRC's youth service-learning club.   

"Youth Raptor Corps had their final class this week and it was such a great experience to get to teach these amazing kids. My favorite parts were getting to plan and teach with Brett and Denise and getting to know the kids.

Brett, Denise and I would all meet at a coffee shop with a rough outline and a bunch of ideas.  We would brainstorm while the caffeine kicked in and a couple of hours later everything would fall into place for a great plan for class. It was nice to have the freedom to pick the topic and choose what each of us wanted to teach the kids. The kids loved getting to see the raptors up close and we all enjoyed great guest speakers who presented to the class. Every class ended with the kids doing a service project to help TRC and raptors.

This group of 5-8th grade kids were remarkable and really cared about the environment, raptors, and other animals.  They always had lots of great and complex questions that showed that they wanted to learn more and more. It was fun to see them every month and I am sure, with their passion for nature, that they will go on to do great things to help the world.
We really appreciated working with the great TRC staff, especially Dan H., to make this possible."