Monday, January 23, 2012

FTV 1/23/2012 Birds of Prey

Buzzy chillin with Cadet Gianetti
One afternoon we noticed a new visitor on board ship. He introduced himself as Buzzy of Buzzards Bay Mass. Buzzy is a turkey buzzard, a common bird found in England. When these settlers arrived at the Massachusetts coast they saw ospreys flying overhead, and thought they were the vultures they
knew from home. They called the area which is now the home of Mass Maritime, Buzzards Bay, when in reality it should have been called Osprey Bay. The turkey buzzard and the osprey both are members of the bird family called Raptors. Here is Buzzy, as he relaxes on the ship with Cadet Gianetti. When we landed in Golfito, Engineering Professor Murray decided to take him on a tour of the port. We will hear more from Buzzy later as we continue on our trip.          

Raptors, also called birds of prey, have several similar behavioral and physical characteristics. They are carnivorous; have strong, hooked bills for tearing flesh; have powerful feet with long talons (claws) for grasping prey; and forward-facing eyes for acute long-distance vision. There are many kinds of raptors, including ospreys, owls, hawks, eagles, falcons and vultures. Each has characteristics that distinguish it from other raptors. Ospreys are large, fish-eating hawks that plunge into the water from high above to catch
fish with their talons. Osprey feet have a pivoting outer toe and sharp scales, which enable them to catch and grasp slippery fish. Owls are silent, mostly nocturnal (nighttime) hunters. They have large eyes that gather large amounts of light, enabling them to hunt in darkness. They also have cup-like facial disks around their eyes, which help focus sound and improve hearing. Falcons have narrow, pointed wings that help them to fly fast and maneuver skillfully. They have black eyes, hooked talons and conspicuously notched bills (tomial teeth). Vultures are scavengers (carrion eaters). They have unfeathered heads, which is an important adaptation for carrion-eating birds that poke their heads into carcasses to feed. Strong feet and sharp talons are not as important to carrion eaters because they don’t catch and transport live prey. Accipiters are woodland-dwelling hawks.They have long, squarish tails and short, rounded wings that enable them to maneuver through trees as they hunt for small birds. These characteristics are adaptations that enable raptors to survive in their unique environments.

Turkey Buzzard

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AddLearn more about Raptors

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