Raptor Road Show Coming To Highland County
How would you like to get an up-close and personal view of some of the most fascinating birds in our area, such as a live owl, hawk or kestrel? You’ll have a chance to view some of these species at the upcoming Raptor Road Show. Keith Carson, current President of the Bath Highland Bird Club, has more.
Mr. Carson says, “The bird club is sponsoring this event. It’s this upcoming Saturday, July 22nd, and it’s at 2:00 p.m. in the Highland Center. It’s free of charge. Children are welcome. We’re happy to have anybody, not just bird club members, but anybody in the community who’d like to come and see these live birds up-close and personal. There’ll be a staff member from The Wildlife Center of Virginia there with the birds. Normally, what they do is they put them up on their hand like you would in falconry, and they walk around with them, and people in the audience can get a pretty close look at some of these birds. And the bird club is doing this, really, just to promote raptor awareness among people in the community. We have such a marvelous natural history here in Highland County, a lot of animals, birds and so forth that you can see quite often, things that are more difficult to see in urban areas or in other parts of Virginia, so that’s the idea is to get people introduced to some of these birds up-close, maybe start to recognize them or try to understand a little bit more about the birds. We’ve had some incidents in the county unfortunately where people have shot raptors. We had an osprey killed back in May, I believe it was. Of course, that’s always an unfortunate situation, for something like that to happen, not only that, being unfortunate, but it’s a violation of federal law, which could result in a very significant fine, so we just like people to be aware of some of the raptors we have around us here.
“They are very beneficial. Many of them like owls, feed on rodents, mice and voles and things like that that can be bothersome to summertime gardens or have other detrimental effects. I guess the mice are carriers of Lyme disease, so we like to keep the mouse population down to help reduce the prevalence of Lyme disease. So the hawks also keep some of the pest animals down, things like rabbits, and eagles can take something even as big as a groundhog sometimes, so they do perform useful functions, as well as being just beautiful birds, very interesting to watch and learn more about, so we’re hoping people will come out and see some of these birds. They’ll also learn more about The Wildlife Center over in Waynesboro. They do a fabulous job treating birds that have been injured or orphaned animals, and it’s a great facility. We’re very lucky, we have such an excellent facility here in state.
“One other thing I wanted to mention, The Wildlife Center’s presentation will be a little bit less than an hour, so I thought, ‘Why don’t we try to get some other kind of natural history program in after that?’ So we have about a two hour program planned for Saturday afternoon from 2:00 ‘til about 4:00, and the second person on the program is Lynn Cameron, who’s a member of the Friends of Shenandoah Mountain, and she’s going to come speak on Shenandoah Mountain: A Proposal to Protect Our Wild Heritage, so they have some ideas about how they would like to see parts of Shenandoah Mountain protected so that they can be enjoyed for many, many generations to come.”
The Bath Highland Bird Club is around fifteen years old and currently has a variety of conservation programs going on, including a golden-winged warbler research program and the placement of kestrel nest boxes around Highland County. To learn more about the club or the upcoming Raptor Road Show on Saturday, July 22nd at 2:00 p.m., Keith Carson can be reached at 540-474-2858.