Birds of Prey Rescue: Changing the Future for Endangered Wildlifeby Pamela Hickman
Birds of prey, otherwise known as raptors, have been respected and admired yet also feared and loathed throughout their existence. They are meat-eating birds and extremely well-equipped for the hunt, with powerful eyesight, ultra-sensitive hearing, and sharp talons. Despite these apparent advantages, many birds of prey species are seriously endangered or
Birds of prey, otherwise known as raptors, have been respected and admired yet also feared and loathed throughout their existence. They are meat-eating birds and extremely well-equipped for the hunt, with powerful eyesight, ultra-sensitive hearing, and sharp talons. Despite these apparent advantages, many birds of prey species are seriously endangered or threatened.
This latest addition to the Firefly Animal Rescue series profiles the dedicated people and projects around the world helping raptors to survive, including:
- The Philippine Eagle Foundation that is bringing the Philippine eagle back from the brink of extinction;
- Lindsay Oaks, an American microbiologist, who helped discover what is killing vultures in Asia;
- Sophie Osborn, who monitors released California condors;
- The biologists using Peregrine falcons as "foster parents" for the young of the endangered South American aplomado falcon.
Illustrated with 50 spectacular color photographs, Birds of Prey Rescue also addresses the general biological issues and challenges in preserving a future for endangered wildlife.
About the Firefly Animal Rescue series:
The Firefly Animal Rescue identifies endangered and threatened species and what is being done to protect them. Combining lively, accessible text and stunning color photographs, each book provides a detailed overview of the species, describing its characteristics, behavior, habits, physiology and more.
"These attractive books are a call to action... fascinating readable accounts."
- School Library Journal
"Succinct introductions to the science and practice of wildlife conservation... written in accessible, lively language."
Read an Excerpt
Eagles have been a symbol of royalty as far back as the ancient Egyptians. The sport of falconry has been practiced in the Middle East since the 8th century B.C. For thousands of years, the power and skill of birds of prey, or raptor, have been respected and admired -- and, in some cases, feared and loathed.
There are about 420 species of raptor in the world, divided into six major families: New World vultures, including condors; Old World vultures, including hawks, eagles, harriers, osprey and kites; falcons and caracaras; secretary birds; barn owls; and all other owls.
Raptors are meat-eating birds that are well-equipped to hunt. Their eyesight is up to 10 times as powerful as a human's, and some have ultra-sensitive hearing. Their powerful feet and curved talons, or claws, are ideal for catching and killing prey and carrying it off -- a harpy eagle's talons are as big as a grizzly bear's claws. The birds' sharp beaks cut and tear the flesh of their prey, like built-in knives and forks.
Despite their expert hunting skills, many raptors species are endangered or threatened -- and it's their food that is killing them. Birds have been accidentally poisoned by pesticides and other chemicals in their prey, and deliberately poisoned with tainted bait. Habitat loss, electrocution on power lines, hunting and a declines in prey have added to their troubles.
There are success stories. Bald eagles and peregrine falcons were recently rescued from the brink of extinction in North America by the combined efforts of government, scientists and conservation groups. It took over 30 years. Now the same groups are working to save many more species of raptor. Time will tell if they can meet with the same success.
Meet the Author
Pamela Hickman is the author of 30 books about nature and wildlife, including Turtle Rescue. A biologist, she worked for many years as the education co-ordinator for the Federation of Ontario Naturalists.
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