Thanks to funds from an Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation Idea Grant and the Huron PTO, all Huron High School biology students saw a live “Birds of Prey” presentation Friday, March 23. Sarah Gilmore from the Leslie Science and Nature Center showed students a red-tailed hawk, a barn owl, and a bald eagle.
The students, many of whom recorded or photographed the presentation on their phones, learned about the hawk’s third transparent eyelid so it never appears to blink, about the owl’s fixed eyes, and the eagle’s 7-foot wingspan–which, Gilmore showed, was wider than the wingspan of the tallest student in the room.
All of the animals at the center have been injured in some way, Gilmore explained. The eagle was found in Wisconsin with broken wing and leg at 3 weeks old. It may have been pushed out of its nest by its own sibling; young eagle siblings will kill each other in order to have better access to food and parental care.
“When her eyes focused at five weeks, they focused on people,” Gilmore explained as the eagle flapped her wings, readjusting to her perch on Gilmore’s arm. The large eagle, magnificent in its white and brown feathers and bright yellow beak, was at ease in a room full of students: “All she knows is people.”
The Leslie Science Center was able to provide seven hours of demonstrations to the biology students. Learn more about the center here.