3rd Annual Raptor Expo was a success!
Thank you to the more than 700 guests who made it out to this year's expo at Franke Park! You helped bring in almost $800 for the Soarin' Hawk family. This will go toward many of the things our birds need, including food and medical care.  We look forward to seeing you again next year.
Expo Firsts
We welcomed two new birds to the Soarin' Hawk family at this year's expo. The first was Felix the Barn Owl, who was so content to sit quietly on her perch that some guests didn't believe she was real at first. Felix was purchased for Soarin' Hawk by board member Mike Dobbs in honor of his father and grandfather. Mike's grandfather's name was Felix. However, to everyone's surprise, Felix turned out to be a she. Felix is valuable to Soarin' Hawk for a number of reasons. Because she was raised in captivity and was never a wild bird, the state will allow her to appear at for-profit events. She was also raised by her breeder to fly from perch to glove, meaning at some point she may be used for audience flyovers.  

We also introduced a Great Horned Owl who, thanks to people voting with their generous donations, was named  Zeus at this year's expo. He  shares a pen with our long-time education bird,  Apollo the Great Horned Owl, and for the moment a juvenile Great Horned Owl. They make a striking presence lined up together on a perch inside their pen. In time, Zeus, who came to Soarin' Hawk with an injured wing, will be trained to be a regular on the Soarin' Hawk presentation circuit. He's a pretty even-tempered fellow, as Great Horned's go.
Meet Ruby, the Red-Tailed Hawk


The young red-tailed hawk slowly soars above the grassy shoulder along I-69 near Fort Wayne, riding the invisible thermal on powerful wings. As she circles, she dips her wings ever so slightly to one side.  From the interstate 100 feet below, it looks as if she is simply enjoying the everyday magic that is flight. But looks can be deceiving. She's hunting.  The unsuspecting mouse scurrying through the knee-high grass has no idea she's got him in her sights.  The term "hawk-eyed" means having keen sight and this hawk's amber eyes are perfectly designed to find and focus on the movement of the mouse, which is no larger than a grown man's thumb.  Hawk-eyed can also mean "vigilant, watchful or observant," and she must be that too.


The hawk starts to circle with greater purpose, spiraling closer to her prey. She senses success and still the mouse doesn't know he's in danger.  She angles her wings back toward her brown tail, which marks her as a juvenile, and dives with an expertise that belies her youth. She's moving at 100 miles per hour and the mouse hears the wind in her feathers before he sees her shadow above him. He runs toward the overgrown fence line that separates the grassy shoulder from the cornfield beyond.  The attempt at escape is no surprise to the hunter; in a split second, the hawk alters her course and descends into a final dive toward the mouse as he enters the relative safety of the brush. Suddenly, the hawk is ripped from the air inches above the mouse as she becomes ensnared in the remains of a barbed wire fence. She wrenches herself free and takes to the air. But she is terrified, disoriented and hurting.


We don't know if this is how the young red-tailed hawk, who was christened Ruby when she joined the Soarin' Hawk family in 2008, was injured. But it is not an unlikely scenario. The sleek bodies of all raptors are designed to penetrate overgrowth to reach their prey, and encounters like the one we've imagined for Ruby are among the most common types of injuries for birds of prey. Ruby, though, was among the fortunate ones. She was rescued. An obvious injury to her crop  - an enlarged portion of the esophagus that is the first step in digesting food - required several surgeries. While the surgeries were successful, it became clear during her recovery that her vision had been damaged too. She could still fly, but she could not survive in the wild without those hawk eyes. She became one of Soarin' Hawk's education birds.


Ruby is one of the most mild-mannered of Soarin' Hawk's raptor residents. She spreads her wings, points her beak into the wind, and makes wonderfully curious hawk sounds when she is tethered at hand. She is sweet and inquisitive and that makes her an ideal bird for educational outreach, which is a critical part of Soarin' Hawk's mission. Ruby meets as many as 600 children a year at Soarin' Hawk presentations, and each time we tell her story, we hope to teach the importance of compassion toward all living things.  Her story also exemplifies how giving back has immeasurable rewards for both the rescuer and the rescued.

Upcoming Presentations
07/04/15 2:00pm Fourth of July Limberlost State Hist Site  200 E.6th St Geneva
07/04/15 9:00am Kids Fish Tourn 3600 S 1150 E LaGrange Big Turkey Lake Stroh
07/05/15 12:00pm  TBD Clear Lk Conservancy 111 Gecowets Drive  Fremont
07/06/15 10:00am  TBD Lk George Conservancy Lake George - Old US 27 Fremont
07/09/15 12:30pm Smr Reading Prog ACPL Shawnee Fort Wayne
07/13/15 1:30pm Smr Reading Prog ACPL Pontiac Fort Wayne
07/18/15 11:00am Upper Long Lk Hoa  TBD  TBD  TBD
08/01/15 11:00am Chataquah Days Indiana State Museum Gene-Stratton Porter  Rome Cty
08/02/15 11:00am Chataquah Days Indiana State Museum Gene-Stratton Porter  Rome Cty
08/07/15 6:00pm Pow-Wow Miami Tribe Morches Park Columbia Cty
08/08/15 10:00am Pow-Wow Miami Tribe Morches Park Columbia Cty
08/08/15 2:00pm  TBD New Haven Parks Dept Moser Park Nature Center New Haven
08/12/15 6:00pm Farm Market New Haven Parks Dept Schnekler Park New Haven
08/22/15 9:00am  TBD  TBD Whitley Cnty Courthouse Columbia Cty
Check our website for the latest schedule.
Volunteers are a critical part of carrying out Soarin' Hawk's mission. The more than 100 volunteers not only sacrifice time away from their families to help ours, they donate many precious resources to help rescue, rehabilitate, and provide public education. Soarin' Hawk volunteers c ontributed 4,970 hours and traveled 43,778 miles in 2014. When you see someone in that maroon shirt, please take a moment to let them know how much they are appreciated.  
Plight of the Peregrine 
Do you remember the banding of the  peregrine chicks earlier this summer ?
Well, we recently received a phone
call from
one of the custodians at the Masonic Temple on Washington Boulevard. 

A peregrine falcon had landed on one of the building's 10th-floor window ledges.  It had apparently remained there overnight and was still sitting on the ledge at noon. It turned out to be the very  defiant Air-ica, a female peregrine chick.  

After a  thorough examination, she was given room and board at
Soarin' Hawk 
overnight. The following morning, she was given a
continental breakfast of mice and chicks, then returned home to
her downtown Fort Wayne high-rise.
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