Not Your Typical Rodeo Star

0
690

      Of all the animals included in the National Western Stock Show, a few animals I saw surprised me. These animals were on display in the Hawk-Quest booth.

      Of all the animals included in the National Western Stock Show, a few animals I saw surprised me. These animals were on display in the Hawk-Quest booth. The birds that were there included the Red-tailed Hawk, the Bald Eagle, the Prairie Falcon, and the Spectacled Owl.

 

      Hawk-Quest is a non-profit organization that is completely run by volunteers. Their goal is to educate children about these birds of prey and their lifestyles, but also to rescue these types of animals, such as the ones that were being exhibited at the booth. About five volunteers were there explaining the program and informing people about these unique birds. One of them was Melissa Tofflemoyer, who works specially with the Red-tailed Hawk.

 

      The Red-tailed Hawk is quite a fascinating bird. Her total wingspan is an elegant four feet wide. She was a hit attraction at the Stock Show. To tell this bird apart from other birds of prey, the Red-tailed Hawk gets her name from the reddish feathers at the base of her tail. Also, to identify Red-tailed Hawks, they have brown spots on their bellies, called a belly band, which is part of their hunting camouflage.

 

      The commonly used term, “Out of sight, out of mind” is actually a falconer’s term. Because the birds’ eyesight is eight – 10 times better than a human’s, they can become easily over stimulated in such a busy environment like the Stock Show. To help with this, the birds (all except for the owl) wore a hood over their eyes to keep them calm.

 

      The National Western Stock Show is famous for its horses, cattle, and other livestock. But this year, the Red-tailed Hawk, the Bald Eagle, the Prairie Falcon, and the Spectacled Owl in the Hawk- Quest booth was an attraction that drew many people close.