Saturday, January 03, 2009

Raptors and Thai Cuisine

Matt was reading "Wired" magazine while we waited to go out today. He had found a Raptor Center here in Eugene we wanted to visit today. But first...

... we all wanted to eat out and Sharyn chose Chao Praya a great Thai Cuisine restaurant.
The Chao Phraya is a major river in Thailand, with its low alluvial river plain marking the mainland of the country. The name Chao Phraya is a Thai feudal title, which can be translated as General or Lord. In the English-language media in Thailand the name is often translated as River of Kings. It then flows from north to south for 231 mi from the central plains to Bangkok and the Gulf of Thailand.

While Matt and Sierra looked over the menu...

Ansley and Sharyn did the same.

Ansley was very pleased with her choice and gave us a great smile.

When the food came Sharyn dug right in to a great looking and colorful dish.

Not that we were hungry or anything but we then stopped at "The Sweet Life Pâtisserie." In case you are wondering about pâtisserie, here is the definition - pâtisserie (n.): a bakery specializing in pastry, cakes and desserts. We got some goodies to go and off we went to the Cascades Raptor Center on Fox Hollow Road.

"Cascades Raptor Center is a non-profit Nature Center and Wildlife Hospital for birds of prey in Eugene, Oregon. Through wildlife rehabilitation and public education, Cascades Raptor Center fosters a connection between people and birds of prey. Our goal is to help the human part of the natural community learn to value, understand, and honor the role of wildlife in preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the Pacific Northwest."

These images came out OK but please forgive the mesh screen that caused some problems in getting ideal pictures.

These two little owls were just too cute.

I personally thought the owls were all pretty cool some so large I'd hate to meet them in a dark alley.

This cool guy had horns, Wow!

This Goshawk was very active flying around in the enclosure.

"The Goshawk is the largest member of the genus Accipiter. The genus Accipiter is a group of birds of prey in the family Accipitridae, mostly consisting of birds known as Goshawks and Sparrowhawks. It is a raptor with short broad wings and a long tail, both adaptations to manoeuvring through trees in the forests it lives and nests in. The male is blue-grey above and barred grey below."
"Raptor" is another word for bird of prey: eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, osprey and kites ... hunting birds with keen eyesight and hearing, strong feet with sharp talons for grasping and killing prey, and curved beaks for ripping up their food. Raptors are not the only predators of the bird world, but they are the only ones that hunt with their feet! The word 'raptor' comes from the Latin raptor (plunderer) and the French raptus (to seize and transport). The English words 'rapt,' 'rapture,' or 'enraptured' share these same roots.

Then we found the Bald Eagle where Sierra, Sharyn and Ansley watched intently while Matt was checking out the Snow Owl (didn't get a good picture of the owl) behind me.

I got some pretty good pictures of the Bald Eagle.

"The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is raptor found in North America that is the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. This sea eagle has a range that includes most of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States and northern Mexico. It is found near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth trees for nesting.

The Bald Eagle is a large bird, with a body length of 28–42 in, a wingspan of 72–96 in, and a mass of 6.6–15.5 lb The female bald are about 25 percent larger than males. The adult Bald Eagle has a brown body with a white head and tail, and bright yellow irises, taloned feet, and a hooked beak; juveniles are completely brown except for the yellow feet. The diet consists mainly of fish, but it is an opportunistic feeder. It hunts fish by swooping down and snatching the fish out of the water with its talons. In the wild, Bald Eagles can live up to thirty years, and often survive longer in captivity. The Bald Eagle builds the largest nest of any North American bird, up to 13 ft deep, 8 ft wide, 1.1 tons in weight."

What a magnificent bird to see up close...

and I was fortunate to get these shots through the screen.

I felt very fortunate to see this eagle up close.

There were some cute little raptors...

...and some very noble looking guests at the center all being helped in this avian clinic.

"Cascades Raptor Center works with up to 200 orphaned sick, and injured raptors each year, using the highest standards of medical treatment and care possible. Most birds presented for care are suffering from injuries either directly or indirectly human-caused. They collide with vehicles, power lines, windows and fences. They are caught in traps, barbed wire, or fishing line. They are shot, poisoned (either directly or through eating poisoned prey), or had their nest sites destroyed by landscaping, logging, or construction. CRC's goal is to release them back to the wild: healthy and strong, ready to take their place in the wild population. We've worked with over 2500 birds in the last 17 years, returning nearly 1300 to the wild."

There were two hawks together in this enclosure,

... and a Turkey Vulture just recently reclassified as a raptor.

Short and sweet but even little raptors and hunters.

Then we took the long way home after viewing some Eagles, hawks, falcons and owls and having a great time. I will return to the Cascades Raptor Center and give my support to this great cause.

Scrabble Score - Scrabble Queen 288 - Scrabble Princess Sierra 213

Quote of the Day
"A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl." ~ Ernest Hemingway quotes (American novelist and short-story writer, Won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954, 1899-1961)

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©Paul Viel