An Evening With Raptors

Our Missouri Department of Conservation hosted an Evening with Raptors at the Powder Valley Nature Center.  Hereís how they presented the evening:

An Evening with Raptors

Location: Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center
Date: Friday, January 27, 2012
Time: 07:00 PM - 09:00 PM

(All ages) The Raptors are back! Join us as we welcome Missouri falconers and their hunting partners! Falconry is a sport reported as far back as 700 B.C.E. and is still practiced today. Learn what falconry is and how to become a falconer. The evening will begin in the auditorium with a presentation on raptors in general and the birds you will see following the presentation. After the presentation you will have an opportunity for an up-close and personal "meet and greet" in the classrooms. You will be able to ask questions of the falconers and see the birds and equipment up close! Be sure to bring your cameras. Reservations are required. (Reservations begin January 3 by calling 314-301-1500.)

A few of us signed up to go and learn about these big birds of prey.  The evening started with a short educational presentation and then we got to see the birds. There were around ten falcon handlers with their birds in a couple classrooms sharing their knowledge and experience. The best part of the night was talking with the falconers, their love of the birds and enthusiasm was contagious. We spent some time learning about ďTinaĒ a Harris Hawk in attendance. My friend Rick asked about the prey of this bird and specifically asked if she would go after a crow. The falconer replied that they only attack if they have the advantage.

Obviously in the wild if this hawk challenged herself beyond her capabilities she would be dead, she doesnít have the luxury of stretching herself beyond her capacities learning as she takes on bigger goals. For me stepping away from the areas where I have an advantage is often a matter of my comfort and security.  Itís enjoyable to do things that I am good at and who doesnít like working in an area where itís easy to be good? Itís a whole lot of fun to enter a race knowing you will probably win having the advantage.  Itís easy to do things that you do well. The sobering reality is that improving to where you achieve the advantage often takes work and practice, often years of practice. Hereís a crazy thought, what if that hawk had no advantage? She would no longer be a carnivore, she we have to settle for a vegetarian life, pecking away at whatever she could find. The problem is that when we do not challenge ourselves to grow and improve we settle. We settle for what we can get, for what we already have achieved and for me there are areas in my life I am not going to settle for.  Itís easy to spot the areas I need to work on because I often walk away from those situations wishing I had done better. For example in some group discussions I am not happy with the way I present my viewpoint. If I want to be clear and concise I need to spend some time in preparation and I need to practice. With some work I can improve my speaking skills gaining confidence to get out and participate effectively, my own hunting of crow so to speak.  How about you?  Is there an area in your life that you desire an advantage or simply to improve?  Whatís the crow you are going to hunt? Go ahead make a start.