Don McCullough brings out an Aplomado Falcon for the students..jpg
Don McCullough brings out an Aplomado Falcon
FLC

Updated: 03.07.2019

Birds of Prey Program Comes to FLC on Wednesday, February 27th

Master falconer and environmental educator Phil Huxford, a member and board director with the Friends of Brazoria Wildlife Refuges, presented a “Birds of Prey” program to all students at Fulton Learning Center on Wednesday, February 27th.    He was joined by master falconer Don McCullough.    The program was funded by the Aransas County ISD Education Foundation “Treasure Chest”.    The purpose of the presentation was to reinforce learning about the structures and functions of different species that help them to live and survive in their ecosystems and to reinforce understanding about the importance of predators and scavengers in food webs.  Learned behaviors and instinctive behaviors of the species were also discussed.

Phil Huxford shows the adaptations of a turkey vulture
The Eurasian Eagle Owl was a fascinating predator to observe

 

6 birds were highlighted at the program:

 

  • A Merlin is a native species of falcon found in Texas predominantly in the winter.   It flies close to the ground and catches prey with bursts of speed while in pursuit.   Its diet is mostly small birds and mammals. 
  • The Eurasian Eagle-Owl is native to Eurasia.    It is one of the largest living species of owl and it is also one of the most widely distributed being found in a number of habitats.   These owls can grow to a total length of 30 inches with a wingspan of 6 feet.
  • Both Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures were shown as important scavengers native to Texas.   Turkey Vultures are a rarity in the bird world with their tremendous sense of smell.   They can detect the odor of dead animals from over a mile away.   Black Vultures rely primarily on their sense of sight to find food.
  • An endangered species highlighted was the Aplomado Falcon.   By the early part of the 20th century, this falcon had almost disappeared in the United States.  Restoration is being attempted in southeast Texas where introduced birds are successfully breeding.
  • The Tawny Eagle is a large bird of prey that inhabits Africa. It has a wingspan of 5 – 6 feet.   Its diet includes insects but it will also kill small animals such as smaller birds, rabbits and small reptiles including lizards and snakes. It will also attack mammals as large as rabbits and hares. 
  • A Red-tailed Hawk is a very common bird of prey seen in Texas and the United States.   It is the most commonly seen raptor in our area perched up on the electric posts along highways. 

This was an excellent program and we hope to have them come back again next year to our campus.   Thank you Don and Steve!    And also a big thank you to the ACISD EDUCATION FOUNDATION for helping with the funding costs.   We appreciate all of you!!

 

Turkey Vulture fact page

http://www.kern.audubon.org/tvfacts.htm

 

Aplomado Falcon information from TPWD

https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/species/aplomfal/

 

Facts about the Red-tailed Hawk

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red-tailed_Hawk/lifehistory