Moseying: Exploring the Natural World
Feel the gaze of a raptor this Saturday at 1.30 p.m. at the Sibley Nature Center!
September 9, 2009
Feel the gaze of a raptor this Saturday, September 12th at 1.30 p.m. at the Sibley Nature Center! The South Plains Wildlife Rehabilation Center will be giving a program with live hawks and owls. “The most important role of rehabilitation of injured fauna is education. We help over a thousand animals a year. People have good hearts and want to help hurt creatures, and we have vets, pharmacists, two falconers, and plenty of volunteers to help us provide a service that the public desires. ” Carol and Rob Lee of the South Plains Wildlife Rehabilitation Center have a remarkable facility on the south side of Lubbock. Mr. Lee worked for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service until retirement. Ms. Lee rehabilitated her first bird in 1984 and founded the facility in 1988.
Daniel Andrews, the assistant wildlife manager for the past two years at Center will be the presenter. He has been involved with the center for about 5 years. He is currently a student at Texas Tech University majoring in zoology and minoring in forensics. He will be bringing a Great Horned Owl, a Burrowing Owl, a Kestrel, a Red-tailed Hawk, and a Peregrine Falcon. Bring your children to the program. This is an incredible opportunity to be within a few feet of these incredible birds!
Daniel told us, “During our programs we normally will tell a brief account of how each of the animals came to the center and about their personalities and behaviors compare to each other and animals of there own kind in the wild. While the zoology major and forensics minor may not seem to fit every well together they can complement each other nicely. The zoology gives me in depth knowledge of basic animal structure to be able to use in the forensics. This gives me more experience to use at scenes exposed to the elements or was disturbed by animals. The information that I have gathered in some of my forensic studies has also been helpful in my work at the center by showing me more ways of recognizing and assessing injuries that might come in to the center. I am in charge of the day to day running of the center on the days that our manager is off and to assist with any feedings, programs, volunteer orientations, and even cleaning that may need to be done at the center.”
To our knowledge, Midland no longer has a licensed animal rehabilitator. Midlanders have to take injured wildlife to Bebe Macasland in Big Spring, who then takes stabilized animals on to Lubbock to the South Plains Center. We receive over 250 phone calls a year from folks seeking help, so we refer them on to Ms. Macasland and to the South Plains Center. Often the callers are oil field employees who spot an animal in a remote location, although most of our calls are “baby bird out of the nest” calls.
Many folks are amazed to discover the owls of town. The Midland Naturalists have kept records of birds in Midland County for almost 60 years, and know of almost a dozen places to go in town to listen or look for Great Horned and Barn Owls within the city limits. Burrowing owls live with prairie dogs, and with prairie dogs moving to town, so have the little owls. They do not always need a prairie dog hole, for several generations were raised in a drainpipe at the Chap Center at Midland College. Burrowing owls sometimes will fly around the lights of baseball fields, including the Rockhounds grounds, while they catch moths and other insects attracted by the bright lights.
Several years ago a Peregrine Falcon spent the winter perched outside the window of former Midland Mayor Ed Magruder. Every year during the fall migration the species pass through downtown and spends a few days catching pigeons, but this one decided the hunting was too good to continue on south to Central and South America. Kestrels and Red Tailed Hawks also visit the area every winter.If you are interested in digital photography, consider joining the Sibley Nature Photo Club. If you would like to receive free drought adapted ornamental plants for your landscape, join our propagators group, and in exchange for helping take cuttings, make divisions, planting seed, and mixing soil, you will receive free plants! Call me at 684 6827 to learn more and to sign up! And, don’t forget that Sibley is open on Saturday from 9-5, thanks to some wonderful volunteers!