Raptors Up Close
"I like to show people birds of prey up close and I think a lot of birds that are seen now, a lot of rehab centers that do programs on birds that are not in good shape, if you will, and I think people lose what a bird of prey should look like, how majestic they really are, so i try to keep good looking specimens that look sharp." says Caldwell.
These birds not only look sharp, they're hunting skills are still pretty sharp.
This is just one of the several raptors that Jason flew at the National Hunting and Fishing Days. It's right on target, and with a little coaxing, it gives up the bait and goes right back to Jason's arm. That's how people have hunted using raptors for centuries, and how Jason still hunts with them today. At programs like this one, Jason always gets an interested crowd.
"A lot of them have questions about the birds they've seen in their backyard, where they hunt there's a bird on the ridge behind them, they hear a call or maybe there's an owl across the road and they want to know what that is, so it's great to help them identify what we have." says Caldwell.
And to teach them what they can, and can't do when it comes to raptors.
"I hate to say it, but in West Virginia, a lot of people still see raptors as pests and want to shoot them and I halfway understand a farmer that's lost chickens to a red tail and he's tired of dealing with it, but they are protected and I tell them that birds of prey are protected completely. Some people think you can take them home." says Caldwell.
Not only that, but you can't even pick up a feather from a raptor and take it home, that's against the law and could land you in big trouble. Luckily, most folks know the laws and over the last several decades, birds of prey have made a remarkable comeback, not only here in our state, but across the country.
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