Tuari meets the kids

 Tuari meets the kids
by Janet May, 22
 April 2017.

A dozen Young Naturalists, their families and a few passers-by got to meet Jessica Baynton and Tuari-the-Hawk.

Believe it or not, their job is at Vancouver International Airport (YVR).  As part of a team, they work to keep airplanes and birds safely apart.  It’s a job that requires skill, patience and trust.

Our Young Nauralists got to watch Tuari and Jessica in action.   I didn’t count, but certainly a bunch of kids got to get up close and personal with Tuari…and learned the power of communication.

What a fun morning!

Jessica Baynton – “Island Raptors: the science and art of falconry”

Jessica Baynton – “Island Raptors: the science and art of falconry”
by Andrew Bryant, 20 April 2017.

Jessica Baynton has one of those weird and wonderful jobs that us mere mortals can only marvel at.  As a biologist employed by The Raptors, she spends her days flying various birds-of-prey.  Yes, you read that correctly.

Using gloves, twine, whistles, radios, and traditional skills from the age-old practice of falconry, Jessica works to keep birds away from aircraft…by flying her birds.

She’s mostly involved with Vancouver International Airport (YVR), although her particular skills have also taken her (and birds) to remote industrial locations across Canada.  It matters.  Because birds and aeroplanes sometimes don’t play nice – ask Captain Sullenberger.

Jessica spoke about the long history of falconry, and how that particular hunting technique/sport/hobby/status symbol has changed over time. What hasn’t changed, as Jessica explained, is that falconry relies on sensitivity, non-verbal communication, and trust.

Falconry works, and has become an increasingly useful tool in the arsenal of wildlife management.  Thus, people who keep track of such things report that “bird strikes plummet at Vancouver Airport” – and passengers are safer as a result.

Jessica’s talk was, of course, a preamble to meeting Tuari, an 8 year-old Harris’ hawk.  It’s not her hawk, of course…except it is…kind of…
…and together they certainly commanded our attention!

Rob Hope – “Raptors”

Rob Hope – “Raptors”
by Sherri Wretham, 25 September 2013. 

Rob Hope is the senior rehabilitator at Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society in Delta.  O.W.L. is one of the premier raptor rehab centres in North America and has featured on the television program Hope for Wildlife. Specializing in raptors, the facility cares for injured and orphaned birds of prey ranging from the tiny pygmy owl to the majestic golden eagle.

Rob gave insights into the quirks and personalities of each species, both in care and in the wild.  An avid outdoorsman, he knows the habitats and conditions required for each species, and has advised on provincial protection and recovery programs, such as the one for the spotted owl. 

He spoke about various aspects of raptors (owls, hawks, eagles and vultures) in the wild,  and answered questions about the species commonly seen in Powell River.