Rambling Rodericks travel blog


Barn owl - one type of raptor, bird of prey

Harris Hawk

Harris Hawk headed for Dan

6 inches over Dan's head

Turkey vulture

Aplomado Falcon of Central America (born and raised in Portland!)

The falcon in training

Great Horned Owl, no longer part of the show because of age.

Friendly river otter

Following the Lava Monument excursion, we headed to the High Desert Museum. The museum was well done and large. The indoor galleries included exhibits on the local animals, natural history and geology and Native Americans. Outside there was a replica farm/ranch typical of early 1900 Bend, just about the time the railroad came to the area.

Also outdoors was a “trail of fire” showing the effects of fire on the local trees, an exhibit about the beetles which are destroying many of the Ponderosa Pines, a birds of prey aviary, a river otter enclosure, and a "stream" with native, endangered Brown Trout and salmon.

But the highlight of the museum for us was the raptor show, for which we had to pay extra and be part of a smallish group with whom we walked a distance further into the open terrain of the park to an area where several raptors would fly very low overhead (I mean within inches) from one tree stump to another while park staff taught us particulars about the birds. This was an entirely open area. The birds could have flown away.

We saw hawks, vultures,falcons and owls. We were all told to stand fairly still, not make any sudden, furtive movements, and not to lift our hands up over our heads during the “show” as the birds truly flew overhead within inches. (Of course, with all the photographers lifting cameras up, the birds performed very well anyway, even with the distracting arm movements.) I felt the air from one bird's wings as it flew ever so low over me. Dan was able to get a photo, blurry because of its speed and closeness, as a hawk flew over him. One bird, a young Aplomado falcon (Central American)was in training for the show. He had only been at the center for about a month. Unlike the other birds, he was distracted by the audience movements, and was noticeably anxious about the screeching Jay nearby. But he sure was a "beauty" as were the other birds.

As we got ready to leave the museum, we visited the otter house. One young fellow was new to the exhibit, so he was in hiding, though he could be spied upon through a window into his darkened den. The other otter, though, was very happy to dance and show off and come up near to the people. Because of his innate curiosity and his overt friendlessness, we assumed people feed him, though that is not wise for the animal.

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