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Fly Away At MacGregor Ranch


By: Kris Hazelton

Local bird expert and rehabilitator Scott Rashid released four beautiful Cooper’s Hawks at MacGregor Ranch last weekend.

The birds, four juvenile males, born this year, had been injured flying into windows while trying to capture their prey.

They were taken in by caring citizens and cared for at the Birds of Prey Foundation in Broomfield, CO. During that time, Birds of Prey workers provided medical and support care in order to give these birds a second chance at surviving in the wild. According the Rashid, “The Birds of Prey Foundation has received and cared for 30 injured Cooper’s Hawks just this year.”

Cooper’s hawks are a medium-sized hawk of the forest. The birds are absolutely beautiful. Typical of an immature Cooper’s Hawk, these birds had blue eyes. Rashid said, “As they age, his eyes will become yellow or brown and then change to red as a mature adult.”

The hooked bill is well adapted to tearing the flesh of its favorite prey such as various bird species including starlings, flickers, robins and mourning doves. They also eat chipmunks, squirrels and other small mammals. These raptors also have powerful feet and talons. These long, needle sharp weapons are well adapted to grasping prey.

The Cooper’s hawk is built for fast flight through the obstacle course of trees and limbs. Typically the bird relies on concealment and uses a series of brief perch-and-scan episodes to locate prey, but they also fly close to the ground, using bushes to shield their approach. A sudden burst of speed is the usual pursuit when hunting from a perch. Occasionally it pursues prey on foot. According to Rashid, “These birds are the ultimate chicken hawks. They have short wings and long tails that act as rudders that allow them to be extremely maneuverable in wooded areas as they hunt birds on the wing.”

Scott Rashid brought these rehabilitated birds to MacGregor Ranch after they were healed and ready to be released back into the wild. He stated, “MacGregor Ranch is a great habitat for them, I’m so happy to be able to release them here.”

Executive Director of MacGregor Ranch, Eric Adams and his wife Stacey and son Benjamin as well as other ranch personnel and family were on hand and helped with the release of the birds. Eric is pleased that the ranch is a place where the birds can be released and have the space to live and breed and fly freely.
As the birds were released, each one landed on a tree branch nearby. They looked around at their new surroundings and flew off into the sky, exploring their beautiful new surroundings.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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