Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Day at the Museum

When in New York, you can visit the Museum of Natural History and see lots of animals in their "native habitat".   Dead, stuffed animals that is.  Outside of Tucson at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum you can see them for real.  Even though they are captive (except perhaps the hawks - see below) I was impressed by the quality of the habitats for each of the animals and groups.  Many of the larger animals were doing what we know animals do best: sleeping, but we managed to find a few awake.

 Like this white-tailed deer.

Napping, but los lobos were necessary to get anyway.  Mexican wolves.

A well-fed coyote that everyone was calling "he" but I'm pretty sure was a "she".  She was patrolling the perimeter of the enclosure.

This fox was a hit.  Nimbly jumping around and very aware of the people watching her.  She reminded us of Kady.

"You looking at ME?"

The ocelot made a brief appearance.

While the bobcat just slept.

We never did find the porcupine, but this really cool lizard lived with him.

Or is it a very small dragon?

Cool plant that I can't remember the name of.

Desert flowers for the hummingbirds and butterflies.

As seen in the aviary.  What exactly are these two small doves doing?  Oh.  It is mating season.

After leaving the crook of the tree, they remained close.

I believe these are the same grossbeaks who visit Oregon in the summer.

Handsome duck.

At least the birds were mostly awake, if difficult to capture on my little camera.

Bighorn sheep.

And the beavers were also awake and showing off their aquatic athleticism.

But it was the Raptor Free-flight show for the win.

Grey hawk.

A beautiful little barn owl.

There was a Peregrine Falcon.  There was no way my camera could capture it.

And the real stars: Harris's Hawks.  How cool is that?

Not only do they hunt in packs, their social structure is very akin to that of dog (or wolf) packs.   Females are dominant and may not let the males eat.  They are therefore fed in separate crates at night.

A special female was supposed to come out at the end to meet people.  Unfortunately one of the other females took off hunting and hadn't come back by the end of the show.  And the missing female was an enemy of the tame girl scheduled to meet and greet.  Yep, just like certain Cardigans I have known.