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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.

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