Grand Opening September 27, 2014
Harrison Bay Raptor Program
As part of our continued efforts to provide quality educational programming in the Harrison TN area, Harrison Bay State Park has expanded it’s wildlife education capabilities, by adding a captive raptor program. We have successfully finished our construction of the enclosures, and currently have three new occupants. We have a Great-Horned Owl, a Red-tailed Hawk, and a Turkey Vulture. These birds have been hit by cars, and are not able to be released into the wild. We are giving them a second chance at life as educational birds, that will hopefully be enjoyed by many for years to come.
We are trying to get our birds used to humans slowly. They have been in the wild their entire lives, and this is a big change. Please be respectful of their condition if you pay them a visit. The Grand Opening will be Sept 27th. Until then we will be partially limiting their contact with the public, to reduce stress.
Meet Our Birds!!
Red-tail hawks, like this one, like to sit on high perches and soar above open lands hunting for small mammals and birds. When they spot their target they dive at high speeds, and surprise them from above. Unfortunately many times these high speed dives are interrupted by impacts with vehicles. This is often because when food, and trash are thrown out on the road small animals are drawn into the open to forage for food. This sets up a hazardous environment for our raptors. Many are injured too greatly to survive, but fortunately our red-tail will get a chance to teach people how they can lessen their impacts on wildlife, and enjoy these wonderful predators now, and in the future.
Turkey Vultures are perhaps one of the most under appreciated birds of prey. It isn’t hard to see why snap judgments of these interesting birds are made. Their bright red bald heads, and culinary selection are a bit off-putting at first, but the more you know about these birds the more interesting, and endearing they become. Turkey vultures have all the same features as some of our top predators, but use their sharp beaks to clean up carrion, instead of take down large prey. They are very efficient flyers and can be seen soaring in groups on thermals with very little flapping. They are often mistaken for eagles, as they soar through the skies. They are also very social and intelligent birds, capable of complex social interaction. Like our hawk. Happy, our turkey vulture, was hit by a car, undoubtedly attracted to another animal that had already been hit trying to get across the road, or find that last bit of food in some roadside litter. Happy may have lost a wing, but we think that his spirit is intact, and he will defiantly be an interesting character.
Great Horned Owl
Our Great Horned Owl, Marley, is quite a site to behold. These owls are the top predator of the night landscape. They are capable of taking large prey with their powerful talons. They have even been known to attack and kill eagles roosting in their nest. Watching these birds is very special, because we normally do not get an up-close look at them in the wild. They are very well camouflaged against the trees they normally roost in. They have excellent hearing, and vision, that help them find prey even in the dark woods. Marley, our great horned owl, lost a wing in an unfortunate collision with a car. She is an impressive bird to behold, and doesn’t miss anything that goes on around her enclosure.
Our enclosures were built primarily through volunteer labor, and donations, thanks to the Friends of Harrison Bay State Park. This is a project built for Harrison, by Harrison. If you enjoy coming and viewing our Raptors, and learning about them from our staff, please help us with their continued support. These birds must be fed, and cared for daily. This is a big commitment for us, and any donation helps!
Please Donate to Support Our Work:
All donations made to this project go to the Friends of Harrison Bay State Park. All funds that are received for this project will be used for this project to maintain the facility required to keep these birds, provide the things necessary to care for them, and supply educational resources to promote the understanding of birds of prey.
A Few Views of the Model Facility
The facility is be made up of three hexagon shaped enclosures. Each enclosure is be able to house at least one bird. There is a third half hexagon between the enclosures that will act as a double entry, and prep room for the rangers accessing the birds.
Rangers Matt & Grant Getting the First Load of Lumber
Our First Work Day Cutting Lumber
Construction Has Started!