With the last few days of our holiday suddenly upon us it’s time to do all the things we like to do when we’re here, which includes a visit to the local raptor rehabilitation centre.
We were there for the advertised 1pm talk but when the director (and sole employee) bounced in and suggested it was too cold for sitting and would we like a behind the scenes tour instead (carefully designed so that we could stand in the sun as much as possible) we jumped at the chance.*
Like all these places it’s a labour of love as much as anything else. Even the rats get a good life, up to the point where they become raptor food – at one point they were discussing the possibility of putting up cold frames to grow lettuce organically year round to feed to the rats to feed to the birds. I suppose, when you’re looking after something at the top of the food chain, every link is important. Birds that had been run over by trucks, birds that had been trampled by their nest mates, even one bird that had flown into an electricity substation (they may be magnificent but they’re not generally all that bright) – all being nursed back to health to mainly be set free if there’s any chance of their survival. For us it was the chance to get up close and personal with birds that are generally no more than a passing blur – like the most gorgeous albeit elderly peregrine falcon, who’d lost none of her splendid presence despite a touch of arthritis. Or a tiny little owl – barely sparrow sized – sitting basking under a heat lamp. Or a turkey vulture who just wanted to come out and play.
I was too fascinated to take many pictures and my phone wasn’t really up to the challenge anyway but here’s the best I could do. And if you’re down Pueblo way I recommend a visit – it’s free, but they’ve a lot of rats to support so I’m sure a donation would be very welcome.
*For the last few mornings we’ve been waking up and it’s been 5 degrees. And if you’re thinking, well that’s a bit nippy but not bad for December then you’re thinking in celsius. 5 degrees Farenheit is -15 in real money. It does warm up during the day, but you definitely want to be in the sunshine if you can