Archived Stories for Union County Public Schools
Rea View Receives One Year Sponsorship Certificates for "Derek" and "Cinnamon"
On Friday, January 29th, the students at Rea View participated in a "mix and match" day sponsored by the Student Council. The money that was raised was donated to the Carolina Raptor Center for the care of an American Kestrel and a bald eagle.
The Student Council received the sponsorship papers for "Derek", the bald eagle, and "Cinnamon", the American Kestrel! We will receive updates on Derek and Cinnamon through March of 2011.
"Cinnamon", the American Kestrel
Cinnamon came to Carolina Raptor Center on June 25, 1999 from Bessemer City, North Carolina. She had been found as a hatchling and raised (illegally) by an unauthorized, untrained person. A neighbor noticed her landing on people's heads and called the Center - a volunteer picked her up and brought her in. Since Cinnamon imprinted on humans, she would never be able to survive in the wold on her own. "Imprinting" is an irreversible process that occurs in young birds when they are learning their social identity. Cinnamon came to view humans as her own species, an now she will not interact with other Kestrels. She was never taught to hunt by her "kestrel" parents and would go to humans for food. she has become a valuable part of our educational programs, traveling to schools and other functions and exhibits.
The widespread American Kestrel is the smallest North American falcon and one of our most common and colorful raptors. It is one of the few raptors with different color plumage in males and females. The female's back wings and tail are rusty brown with fine dark barring. The male's wings are blue gray and the tail is red with a wide dark band and a white tip. Both sexes have two dark "mustache" marks under the eyes and roundish dark markings on the back of the head, which give the appearance of two dark eyes and a beak.
Kestrels feed mainly on insects (especially grasshoppers in summer), small rodents, birds, lizards, and snakes. They can often be seen swooping around the floodlights at outdoor arenas or hovering over grassy areas in search of insects. The tominal tooth (extra notch) on the beak and big chocolate brown eyes are common to all falcons. They breed in tree cavities from Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to Newfoundland, Quebec and Saskatchewan. Unfortunately, with habitat destruction, they are finding if more and more difficult to locate appropriate nesting cavities. We encourage assisting them by placing nest boxes in wooded areas to aid them in their search.
"Derek", the Bald Eagle
Derek came to Carolina Raptor Center from the South Carolina Center for Birds of Prey on Augus 24, 1998. They received Derek in December of 1995. He originally had a broken left tibiotarsus (leg) and a broken right radius and ulna (wing) that healed wrong, causing the wrist to be stiff. As a result of these injuries, he does not have complete extension of his right wrist and thus cannot fly. On March 2 and 3, 2006, Derek and his mate Savannah, became the proud parents of the first eagles to be born in captivity in North Carolina.
Derek was named after a remarkable eight-year old by who met lifes's opportunites and challenges with courage, talent, and strong determination. Derek Hagemann was a gifted child who had a love of knowledge and enthusiasm for raptors. He had a visual gift of storing large amounts of information on these birds and sharing it with classmates and family.
Bald eagles are a threatened species. Their numbers were decimated as a result of the use of DDT in earlier years. When bald eagles ate prey which had been exposed to DDT, the chemical build up in the eagles' tissues and resulted in eggshell thinning. When the parents attempted to brood their eggs, the shells broke.
At 27 to 35 inches, the bald eagle is the largest raptor native to the Carolinas. The are found near large bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, and the ocean. They hunt by day and snatch prey from the surface of the water. Their main diet is fish, but they will also eat waterfowl and carrion. They regularly pirate food from other birds, especially other bald eagles and ospreys.
Derek's diet consists mainly of rats and fish. In the wild, he would fish for himself, as well as eat some carrion. He weighs about 8-9 pounds.
The bald eagle does not get the distinctive white head and tail until it is four to five years old. For the first three years the birds head is brown and the tail is all brown with some white molting. The fourth year they start growing in the white head and tail feathers and are usually completely white by the fifth to sixth year. Both sexes have the same colored plumage. Females are larger than the males. Bald eagles can have a wingspread of 71 to 89 inches and weigh 4-13 pounds.
Bald eagles are only native to North America. They get their name not because they are bald but because in Old English balde means, "white". "Bald-headed Eagle" meant "white-headed" and later became just "Bald Eagle".
Written by: Diann Harvey
Posted: Mar 17, 2010 by Diann Harvey