Thursday, August 9, 2012

What do Olympic Athletes and Raptors Have in Common?

 The Summer Olympics are a great way for many countries to get together in the spirit of competition. But they only happen every four years. Here at TRC, we are lucky enough to enjoy international presence daily, with our residents and interns. Dr. Irene Bueno-Padilla is from Spain, and Dr. Carolina Ewbank is from Brazil.
Much like the Track and Field event participants must have exceptional speed and endurance, raptors that make long distance migrations must also be in top form. Dr. Bueno-Padilla enjoys seeing Spain’s version of an 800-meter athlete in the Eurasian Hobby. This small falcon can be found across Africa, Europe and Asia, and some individuals are true long-distant migrants. The subspecies Falco subbuteo subbuteo is found in northwest Africa and Europe, east through central Asia and northern China, as far as Kamchatka and Japan, while Falco subbuteo streichi is found in southern and eastern China.

Athletes who run in the hurdles competition must not only possess great speed, but also precise technique as they seem to glide over the obstacles in their track.  Northern Goshawks, found in North America, are also seen in Spain.   This incredibly agile raptor makes its living with rapid acceleration on short wings, and a long tail, which provides exceptional maneuverability while flying between trees to catch its prey.  Check out this BBC-produced video of a goshawk. 

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