On Friday, June 15, Blue Mountain Wildlife presented a lecture on birds of prey during the 2012 Summer Reading Blast Off at the Baker County Public Library in Baker City, Oregon.
Blue Mountain Wildlife is located in Pendleton, Oregon. It specializes in wildlife rehabilitation as a volunteer, nonprofit organization whose mission is to take orphaned, sick and injured wildlife, primarily birds of prey, and provide the treatment and care necessary to return them to their natural habitat.
In addition, Blue Mountain Wildlife also offers free educational programs about birds of prey to schools, public libraries and civic organizations in an effort to increase public awareness of raptors and their role in the environment. Blue Mountain Wildlife also helps rehabilitate birds of prey from Washington State.
Lynn Tompkins, Director of Blue Mountain Wildlife, gave an impressive lecture at the Baker County Public Library. She also brought from her rehabilitation center a Red-Tailed Hawk named Ruby, a Barn Owl named Helen and a Great Horned Owl named Sage.
Ruby, Helen and Sage are all injured birds of prey whose conditions are permanent and cannot go back into the wild. Ruby has a broken wing, Helen is blind in both eyes and Sage is blind in her right eye.
Tompkins spoke for an hour about different birds of prey that exist in Baker County, which are mostly owls and Red-Tail Hawks. Ruby, Helen and Sage filled the Baker County Public Library with young children and parents who were captivated.
During her lecture, Tompkins answered many questions from several curious boys and girls. One young boy asked Tompkins if an owl could fly faster than a Pterodactyl. Tompkins replied that her knowledge of Pterodactyls was limited and could not answer that question.
Tompkins also spent a few minutes talking about how some birds of prey become ill with lead poisoning after eating animal carcasses, like coyotes or wolves, which are killed by lead bullets. According to Tompkins, lead bullets left inside animal carcasses can leak out over time as the bodies begin to decompose. Any bird of prey or other carnivore that eats the carcasses can suffer from lead poisoning.
Tompkins than showed the audience some skulls of a few birds of prey while explaining their nocturnal behavior and excellent visual acuity. She explained how some large birds of prey, like a Condor, fly 8,000-10,000 feet in the air and follow other birds of prey, like a Turkey Vulture, who flies much lower in altitude to search for prey. After a Turkey Vulture finds it prey and kills it, the Condor will swoop down and try to steal the dead prey from the Turkey Vulture.
If you would like to watch my short video clip recording of the first 8-minutes of Tompkins lecture at the Baker County Public Library, please click on the YouTube website link below. You can also watch my slideshow video of still photos about the lecture on YouTube as well.
Video of Birds of Prey Lecture at Baker County Public Library