Birds of prey featured at annual Raptor Day in Coupeville

A chance to eyeball ‘superheroes of the bird world’ Saturday

Raptor Day at Coupeville’s Pacific Rim Institute features a close-up look at falcons, owls, merlins and other large birds of prey. Photos by John Deir/Pacific Rim Institute

Raptors reside at the top of the food chain. On Whidbey, they roost on tree snags and telephone poles, hide in fern and forests, swoop down on fishing boats and waterfronts.

Osprey, owls, peregrine falcons, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks — all a study in contrasts, so poetic in flight, so predatory by nature.

Superheroes of the bird world, raptors possess binocular vision, razor beaks, cutthroat talons. They can swoop to speeds of 250 mph to catch prey a mile away. They snack on chipmunks, snag baby birds from nests and get blamed for many a missing kitten and chicken.

Some raptors also bond with humans for mere bits of meat, work for no pay scaring other birds away from fields and willingly sit still as hundreds of eyeballs admire their feathers and features.

Once again, birds of prey will be the star attraction during Pacific Rim Institute’s 8th annual Raptor Day this Saturday. Falconers will talk about the birds at the educational event that’s free and suitable for all ages.

Raptor Day is 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 at Pacific Rim Institute, 180 Parker Road, Coupeville. The event is free and open to all ages.

• For more information, log onto www.pacificriminstitute.org/website/

Sue Hanneman holds an Eurasian eagle owl.

Sammy Holloway with a hybrid gyrfalcon.

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