An educational experience, teaching awareness and respect for wildlife using live, native birds of prey

Sky Hunters Environmental Education
Serving Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties

Spring 2008 Newsletter

Warm spring wishes to you from all of us at Sky Hunters.  We provide a helpful, informative electronic newsletter on a quarterly basis.  Please let us know if you would rather not receive this newsletter by sending an email to accipiter@sky-hunters.org

Sky Hunters Environmental Education was founded to teach respect and awareness of wildlife and habitats in California, using live birds of prey to emphasize our message.  We take great pride in providing small group presentations geared toward enlightenment, enrichment, and empowerment. Experience has shown us that the personal introduction to these wild creatures will capture your imagination, and hopefully your heart, and our conservation message will be delivered with wildlife and wild places in mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAPPY SPRING!

 

March is upon us, Spring is on the way!  We have endured the winter storms for the bounties of renewal.  The Earth is greening before our very eyes!

Along with the lush grasses and spring flowers, the arrival of spring means the arrival of newborn and just-hatched wildlife. These youngsters soon venture into the world on shaky legs or fragile wings. Most are learning how to survive from one or both parents. For them, the perils of survival are a natural part of life in our neighborhoods. Young wildlife that learn well, are the most fit, and stay wild usually live the longest. Those early unsteady steps and flights are part of their normal growth, helping young animals develop into self-sufficient individuals.  Some develop that ability quickly, almost from birth. Other animals need more parental care. 

Every year well-meaning people upset the lives of many young wild creatures. These people take baby wildlife from the wild in a mistaken attempt to save them. In fact, these would-be rescuers are harming the young animals' chances of becoming normal adults. Some people assume that young wildlife they have found are abandoned. They believe that the young animals are helpless and need to be saved. In nearly all cases, this is a mistake.

Think of a mother deer with her newborn fawn.  She can’t drop him off at day care while she forages all day for food, nor can he keep up with her.  Mother Nature has provided for the calf to remain well-hidden in the new grasses with his spotted coat and lack of a scent.  Mom is feeding nearby and will return periodically to check up on him and feed him.   He is not abandoned, but if humans pick him up he will become an orphan and may never have a chance to run free with a herd. 

small rabbitsYoung mammals such as hares and cottontail rabbits can be out of the nest and foraging for food at as little as two weeks of age.  If you come across a very small rabbit in the grass, leave it be. 

Baby songbirds go through a fledgling period where they actually can spend up to two weeks on the ground before they can fly.  This is a very important development period of time for them and their parents are paying close attention.  In 'rescuing' these youngsters they will loose their chance of a critical learning stage and deprive the parent of the training of their young.

Young opossums and raccoons can get left behind in our yards from mom’s nightly trainings.  If this happens in your yard, keep your pets inside and allow mom to come back for these wayward charges. 

Be a good naturalist and when you see young wildlife on the ground, back up, watch and listen for the parents.  Chances are you will be able to witness an event that few people see when mom returns to check up on junior.   

There are always times when a young animal is truly in need of rescuing, but take a good look before reacting.  A nestling, or unfeathered, baby bird on the ground that can’t get out of the way will need your help.  They need to be kept warm and, if they are not injured, can be returned to the nest for the parents to take care of them properly.  Most birds have a very poorly developed sense of smell and will not react to your human scent on their babies.  The birds have invested a lot of energy and time into their young and will not readily abandon them.

If you find an obviously-injured animal, remember your WARM, DARK, QUIET, and NO FOOD rules and get it to a licensed Wildlife Rehabilitation Center quickly.  The best way for us to enjoy the wildlife of spring is to watch them develop and leave them alone to grow into their wild lives.   Happy wildlife watching!

SKY HUNTERS RETURNING TEACHER CHALLENGE!

Our birds are bored after a long winter break and want more to do!  We need to fill in the gaps.  Here is how you can help and what is in it for you.

Sky Hunters will provide a FREE presentation to your classroom for every three NEW classes that book Sky Hunters presentations. 

Talk to your fellow teachers, share your experience with Sky Hunters presentations in your classroom, and get them excited about adding a Sky Hunters presentation to their class lesson.  When they book a Sky Hunters presentation have them give your name as a referral.  When we have booked three referrals from you we will contact you to book a free presentation for your class!   Remember, these referrals have to be new teachers or new classrooms and need to have booked and paid for a presentation.  There is something for everyone and all presentations adhere to the California Science Standards per grade level.  Here are examples of presentations tailored to the different grade levels:

Basic Presentations for all grade levels

  1. “Hunters of the Sky” introduction to bird of prey biology and habitat use.
  2. “Silent Hunters” introduction to owl biology and habitat use.

Preschool, Kinder, First Grade 

  1. “Around the Clock with and Owl and a Hawk” Environmental Biology.  Story introduction of how animals live together and use the same habitats in a 24-hour period.  Hands-on, supervised examination of artifacts.

Second Grade

  1. “Dino’s to Modern Day Birds” avian evolution through fossils. 
  2.  “Who is Eating Whom” introduction to the food chains & webs.

Third Grade

  1. “Dino’s to Modern Day Birds” avian evolution through fossils. 
  2.  “Who is Eating Whom” introduction to food chains and webs.
  3. “Commuting on the Wing” migration and weather movement.

Fourth Grade

  1. “Who is Eating Whom” food chain.
  2. “Commuting on the Wing” migration and weather patterns.

Fifth Grade

  1. “Why People Can’t Fly” comparative anatomy.

For more detail go:  http://www.sky-hunters.org/Presentations.html
REMEMBER – BOOK THREE, GET ONE FREE!

 

SPECIAL THANK YOU TO ALL THE SPONSORS

Thank YOU

 

 

 

 

Without our Raptor Sponsorships, we couldn’t afford to keep our presentation fees down and still feed the birds. The following sponsors are supporting the care and feeding of individual Sky Hunters Educational Raptors in 2008:

Michelle Overton – American Kestrel sponsorship from her aunt, Laurie Overton

Zachary Kloock – Red-tailed Hawk sponsorship from his grandmother Bonnie Bedford-White

Beth Kloock –  Barn Owl sponsorship from her grandmother, Bonnie Bedford-White

Alma & Mike Rogers – American Kestrel sponsors

The Schweuz Family – American Kestrel sponsors

Cynthia McLauglin – Peregrine Falcon sponsor

Ashley Overton – Red-tailed Hawk sponsorship from her aunt, Laurie Overton

These sponsorships come with a certificate and picture of “your” sponsored raptor.  A wonderful gift for all seasons.  Check out “How you can help” for other ways to help support your favorite Sky Hunters Educational Ambassador!

 

Earth Day, Earth Month, Earth Day Every Day

April 22nd is Earth Day, a global holiday celebrate the environment and the wonder of life on our planet.  The first Earth Day was organized in 1970 to promote the ideas of ecology, encourage respect for life on earth, and highlight growing concern over pollution of soil, air, and water.  Earth Day celebrations are held throughout the month of April as the movement has grown.  Yet we don’t need to wait for a special date on the calendar, we can celebrate and take care of the Earth every day!

Today there is a lot of talk about your carbon footprint, the measure of the impact your activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced.    This footprint can be measured in the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.  You may not be aware, but electricity is one of the biggest producers of carbon emissions.  Every time you flip on a light switch or turn on the television you are adding to global warming.   Of course, it is not possible to go without lights in this day and age, but there are numerous things you can do every day to limit your impact.  Turn IT off when not in use.  Turn off the lights when you leave a room and turn off your computer at the end of your workday.  Use energy-saving light bulbs. 

A few other everyday things to think about:  Set your central heating timer to turn down at night and off when the house is empty.  Insulate your hot water tank: defrost your refrigerator/freezer regularly: hang heavy cloths, such as towels, outside to dry before putting them in the dryer.    Unplug your cell phone as soon as it has finished charging. 

How about converting to a locavore? A locavore is someone who eats food grown or produced locally or within a certain radius, such as 50, 100, or 150 miles. The locavore movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to produce their own food, presuming that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locally grown food provides an environmentally friendly means of obtaining food, since supermarkets that import their food use more fossil fuels and non-renewable resources. 

Don’t buy overly packaged products.  Look for the least amount of packaging to generate the least amount of waste.  Recycle as much as you can instead of filling the local landfills.  Remember your BIG R’s - Recycle, Reuse, and Replant!

Enjoy Earth Day celebrations in your area.  Sky Hunters will have a booth and provide a short presentation at the West Wind Barn Earth Day event in Los Altos Hills on Sunday, April 20th from 1-4 pm. 

Other local Earth Day events:

South County Earth Day Festival – April 19th 10-2 at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy,
go to http:www.scvas.org for more details.

 

A must view 20-minute, fast paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns with Annie Leonard - THE STORY OF STUFF - http://www.storyofstuff.com/

 

IF you need a laugh then read through these Children's Science Exam Answers. These are real answers given by children.

Q: Name the four seasons. A: Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

Q: Explain one of the processes by which water can be made safe to drink.
A: Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes large pollutants like grit, sand, dead sheep and canoeists.

Q: How is dew formed? A: The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire.

Q: How can you delay milk turning sour? A: Keep it in the cow.

Q: What causes the tides in the oceans? A: The tides are a fight between the Earth and the Moon. All water tends to flow towards the moon, because there is no water on the moon, and nature hates a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight.

Q: What are steroids? A: Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs.

Q: What happens to your body as you age? A: When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental.

Q: What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty? A: He says good-bye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery.

Q: Name a major disease associated with cigarettes. A: Premature death.

Q: What is artificial insemination? A: When the farmer does it to the bull instead of the cow.

Q: How are the main parts of the body categorized? (e.g., abdomen.)
A: The body is consisted into three parts – the brainium, the borax and the abdominal cavity. The brainium contains the brain; the borax contains the
heart and lungs, and the abdominal cavity contains the five bowels, A, E, I, O, and U.

Q: What is the fibula? A: A small lie, in Spanish.

Q: What does "varicose" mean? A: Nearby.

Q: Give the meaning of the term "Caesarean Section" A: The Caesarean Section is a district in Rome.

Q: What does the word "benign" mean?' A: Benign is what you will be after you be eight.

Sky Hunters Environmental Education wishing you a wonderful Spring being connected to this beautiful planet that we depend on.  Happy Spring, Happy Earth Day.

 

For past newsletters click here!

 

©2008 Sky Hunters Environmental Education. All rights reserved.