BScES Students Welcome Three Wild Guests

Student with a hawk perched on their arm standing in front of a glass window

On Friday March 3, the BSc. in Environmental Science class was pleased to welcome Brooke from the Raptor Centre in Duncan, BC and her feathered charges Kara (Red-tailed Hawk), Inspector (Spectacled Owl), and Taylor (Kestrel).

Red-tailed hawks and kestrels are native to Vancouver Island, so this up close and in person experience with these raptors was a wonderful way for students to intimately connect with top predators that are usually only observable in the wild at a considerable distance. Students were able to gain an appreciation of their very light weight for their size, and the adaptations like exceptional eyesight and differences in the flight feathers for falcons as compared to owls that make them such effective predators. Brooke shared her insights into the work that red-tailed hawks like Kara do with various local organization to control the presence of gulls, ducks and other prey species. 


Kara the Red-tailed Hawk (left) and Inspector the Spectacled Owl (right)

Students holding a Red-tailed Hawk (left)  and a Spectacle Owl (Right) with a leather glove

Inspector demonstrated the softer flight feathers associated with owls as well as his camouflage that helps him to blend into the jungle habitat his species hails from in South America.

Inspector the Spectacled Owl

Taylor had much to say, amusing everyone with her “baby” calls meant to check on Brooke’s whereabouts and ensure that no one forgot she was part of the group. Each student had the opportunity to act as a “tree-perch” for each of the birds and were able to observe behaviours such as preening from a nose-to-beak perspective. The afternoon finished off with our feathered guests having their dinner (quail for Kara, a mouse each for Inspector and Taylor) before leaving with Brooke.


Taylor the Kestrel

Taylor the Kestrel

We greatly appreciated this unique opportunity and many of the students are planning a trip to the Raptor Centre for their term break.