Raptors Enthrall All
Over 400 people were captivated by beautiful raptors on November 4, 2023, when the Friends of Dyke Marsh and the National Park Service hosted Secret Gardens Birds and Bees at Fort Hunt Park’s Pavilion A.
Liz and Tim Dennison, owners of Secret Gardens, care for raptors that have been injured and cannot survive on their own in the wild. They have given each bird a name.
Someone found Pippin, a male American kestrel (Falco sparverius) near Washington, D.C.’s National Mall, begging for food and unafraid of people because he had imprinted on people.
|All photos by Glenda Booth unless otherwise noted|
Little Red, a red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus), is blind in his left eye, probably because a great horned owl grasped his head.
Scarlet, a female barred owl (Strix varia), has a damaged beak from a vehicular collision.
|Tim Dennison and a barred owl|
Olive is a barn owl (Tyto alba). Barn owls are farmers' favorites because they eat mice. A barn owl family can scarf up 6,000 to 10,000 mice a year, Liz Dennison told the attendees.
Homer, a great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), the largest owl at Fort Hunt that day, seemed to zone in on his many admirers with his big yellow eyes. These owls are “at the top of the food chain,” Liz Dennison said.
|Great horned owl Photo by Deborah Hammer|
Little Voss, an eastern screech-owl (Megascops asio), also has a damaged eye from a collision. Experts at camouflage, these owls can blend into tree bark.
From the Greeks, who believed that owls predicted a military victory, to Harry Potter’s snowy owl pal Hedwig, owls intrigue people. “Owls are icons for everything from potato chips to cigars,” Virginia owl expert John Spahr says.