Monday – March 30, 2015
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
We visited the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum today. This living desert museum showcases the variety of plants and wildlife that inhabit the 100,000 square miles of the lush Sonoran Desert that extend from central Arizona through Sonora, Mexico.
Upon entering the enclosed humming bird exhibit, we were bombarded by a series of close encounters of humming birds flittering about overhead, like drones, checking out the intruders invading their space. We were fortunate, during our visit, to be present while hummingbirds were building nests, incubating eggs, and feeding newborns.
We attended the raptor demonstration at 2:00 p.m. There are two shows, 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The demonstration features four raptors. The first raptor was an endangered hawk that no longer exists in the wild. During the demonstration the hawk ignored the handlers commands and suddenly flew off and attacked a pair of birds nesting in a nearby saguaro catus. It then immediately dropped to the ground and captured a non-venomous snake, about 1-1/2 feet in length, that was slithering about at the base of the saquaro catus.
During the raptor demonstrations, if a raptor attacks other wildlife and captures it, the handlers are not allowed to interfere with the kill. They must wait nearby until the raptor loses interest in their kill and returns to the handler’s gloved hand. It took about fifteen minutes before the hawk left the snake and returned to the handler. When the handler was returning the hawk to its enclosure, it flew off again. Before another raptor demonstration can be initiated, the hawk had to be captured and returned to its cage, otherwise it would attack the next raptor. Unfortunately, the hawk proved too elusive to be captured and the remainder of the raptor demonstration was cancelled. The ranger stated this was the first time a raptor demonstration has ever been cancelled. Just our luck!
Tomorrow another adventure begins.