CONCORD — Hawk Creek Wildlife Center Inc. of East Aurora gave a children’s educational lecture on the nature of birds, on Nov. 16 at 10:30 a.m., at the Hulbert Library of Concord.
The presentation, “Amazing Adaptations,” was a program open to children 7 and older, designed to teach the children how animals use their skills to survive in the wild.
Hawk Creek volunteer Matt Zymanek gave a presentation that featured touchable artifacts, such as the wing feathers of a red-tailed hawk, and bird claws, which were passed around the group.
“The peregrine falcon, one of the fastest creatures on the planet, was recorded at a flight speed of roughly 285 miles per hour,” said Zymanek. “This falcon needs to sustain such a speed for feeding on its sole food source of other birds.”
He also told the kids that eagles extert nearly 700 pounds of pressure when they clutch their talons and turkey vultures have no hair on their beaks, so they do not dirty their feathers when eating.
“Some birds even have a special pouch within their stomachs, known as a ‘crop,’ to store food, when they need it the most. The African grey parrot – whom some may own as house pets – are one of the smartest birds on the planet,” he added.
Zymanek also brought several live animals, like Soren, a barn owl. He pointed out an owl’s lightweight feathers, which allows them to sneak up on their targets of prey, who have much larger ears, and depend on hearing to avoid their enemies.
“In fact,” Zymanek added, “This barn owl, like Soren, has the best hearing of any owl in the world. By example, the barn owl can hear a mouse rustling in the leaves, a quarter of a mile away. They have the ability to turn their heads three quarters of the way around, with the adaptation of 14 bones in their neck; twice as many bones as a human’s.
“Years ago, many farmers thought of barn owls as ghosts in the night,” he added. “From the looks of their white underbellies, dark eyes and their unique, high-pitch screech, before discovering their real identity.”
Further information about Hawk Creek Wildlife can be found at www.hawkcreek.org.