Hazards of Hand Feeding Raptors

Warning! This video gets kinda gross...especially for me.

After we banded birds this morning at Carpenter Nature Center, I was asked if I could help feed some of their education birds of prey. Their red-tailed hawk is a very easy going imprinted bird. He eats easily from the hand, so I thought I would take a quick video so you could get an idea of what it's like to watch a red-tail up close as he eats a gutted mouse. Well, he got a chunk of mouse lodged in the wrong way and tried to gag it out as if it were a pellet...

And there you have it, the chunk of mouse nailed me right in the kisser. I don't know if you caught it, but you can see a red smudge on the right side of my mouth--from the offending piece of regurgitated mouse.

Here's what hit me. It's bad enough feeding peregrines who pluck feathers all over you, but leave it to a red-tail to up the ante and nail you with actual flesh.
Yuck. The price I pay for cool birding experiences.