Wild Ontario

On Tuesday, November 20th our outdoor school professor Diane brought us on another unforgettable experience. I came to class prepared to endure another chilly class in the elements. Myself and likely the rest of the class were pleased to hear that our class would take place in a warm and cozy greenhouse after just a quick walk from the classroom. Wild Ontario was generous enough to bring some of their raptors for us to get an up close and personal look at them. We learned that raptors, formally known as birds of prey are called such because even though they hunt for their food they are unique animals because they use their feet to catch their prey.    We saw a variety of different birds all native to Canada including the smallest Falcon in the world the American kestral right beside the largest falcon called the Gyrfalcon. It was really cool to see the comparisons if the two birds up close. We also saw a red-tailed hawk who we were told was quite old for its species yet, still seemed very spry and healthy. A Bard owl became a fan favorite for many students including myself. The Wild Ontario volunteers passed around feet and wings from some raptors, this was really cool to be able to touch and see some of the physical difference between the birds. The wing of an owl, for example, was much more fluffy than others and this allowed the owl to be silent during flight.  Wild Ontario is made up of volunteers who are mostly University of Guelph students. The volunteers care for raptors that are brought to them injured or who have tried to been domesticated in the past an otherwise would not be able to care for themselves in the wild. They also raise awareness about the birds because as beautiful as the birds are they are not meant to be pets and should be enjoyed from a distance. We also learned that unfortunately a lot of raptors are injured on the side of roads because of food that is thrown out by passengers in cars. Overall, this experience made me aware that these majestic animals are living in our own backyard and we need to be aware of their presence. Hopefully, now I will be able to recognize them in the wild as they are truly an amazing animal to see in person. There have been so many enjoyable classes during this course however, I must admit this was my favorite and I cannot wait to see what our last couple of classes have to offer.