A falcon on the hand
School field trip gets up close and personal with wildlife
Members of a Grade 2 and 3 class from O’Leary Elementary School were afforded the opportunity recently to hold a falcon, and some even held a brook trout during a recent fieldtrip to the Glenwood pond and dam.
The students observed Fish and Wildlife workers Rosie MacFarlane and Jason MacEachern use electrofishing to monitor fish population in the stream and they watched wide-eyed as Jamie Strike with Island Falconry Services displayed a male saker falcon.
No one in the class passed up on the opportunity to hold the majestic bird of prey when Stride presented them the offer.
The saker falcon, Stride informed the students, is the world’s fastest animal having reached a recorded speed of 273 miles per hour (442 kilometres per hour) during a dive.
Stride also displayed a young hawk but, because it is still in the early stages of training, he could not let the students hold the hawk.
While pest bird control comprises much of the work Island Falconry Services provides, Strides admits wildlife awareness presentations, such as the one the West Point Watershed Association arranged for the elementary school children, take up a good portion of his time at this time of year.
Falconry services, he explained, are effective in controlling pest birds.
Just holding a falcon in his gloved hand and raising it up and down so that it spreads its wings, he said, is enough to scare off a flock of gulls.
Becky Bridges, a student at O’Leary Elementary School, took full advantage of a recent field trip to hold a trained saker falcon.