Behold the birds of Prey
By Cassie Hart, Editor - Kids in Perth 05 Aug 2021
Birds of prey are majestic creatures of the air! If you’re unfamiliar with the term, a ‘bird of prey’ is a feathered friend of the sky that feeds on other animals. They are characterised by their hooked beaks, sharp talons and sharp eyesight. In Australia there are 24 native species of raptors and 11 owl species.
The WA Birds of Prey Centre in the Swan Valley has been rehabilitating birds since 2000. The vast majority are rehabilitated and released back into the wild. Of those that can’t, the WA Birds of Prey Centre utilises them help educate people about the importance of conservation. They do this through displays and presentations. Here are some types of birds of prey that can be found in Western Australia:
This is Australia’s largest bird of prey with a wingspan of 2+ metres when fully grown. Wedge-tailed eagles can be identified by their long wedge-shaped tail, legs that are feathered from top to toe, dark brown plumage and pale bill. They eat both live prey and carrion (deceased carcasses) including rabbits, lizards and birds. Wedge-tailed Eagles are monogamous and mate for life. If one bird of a pair is killed, the survivor will find a new mate.
Peregrine Falcons are powerful raptors with long tapered wings. They are identified by their black hood and upperparts, creamy chin and underparts, short tail, yellow eye rings and yellow bill. Peregrine Falcons feed on small to medium sized birds and mammals. They hunt by swooping from above or pursuing birds flying in the sky. Peregrine Falcons can fly at great speed of up to 300 km per hour. They usually hunt in pairs and general mate for life.
Named after its distinctive dog-like call, the Barking Owl is a medium sized hawk-owl with a heart shaped face. They have grey-brown plumage on the upper, and creamy-white on the under, to big bright yellow eyes. Barking Owls are nocturnal creatures that live in woodlands and forests. They dine on small to medium sized birds, reptiles and insects. Owls nest in hollow tree trunks and raise just one chick per season. Young owls stay with their parents for a number of months before going off to find a mate for breeding season.
Meet Auzzie – WA’s favourite Wedge-Tail Eagle! We speak to Yvonne from WA Birds of Prey to learn more about one of Perth's local legends.