Friday, March 9, 2012

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

A highlight of the Tucson area, the Desert Museum boasts a variety of attractions, from animals you would find in a zoo, such as this Mountain Lion, to beautiful plants and cactus.


The Bighorn Sheep were also pretty cooperative about getting their photo taken. But the highlight of the Museum are the Raptor Free Flight programs.


A lot of my pictures look like this. These animals are flying free, but trained to go back home when their part of the show is over.


First out in the morning show was the Chihuahuan Raven, slightly smaller than the Raven we usually see. The trainer would put pieces of food on different branches, and the birds would land there, or on her arm.


Next up was the Gray Hawk, I think. Since I didn't take notes, I hope Judy will tell me if I misspeak.


Then came the Great Horned Owl. He was a little spooked by a photographer from PBS who was not where the birds are used to seeing people.


Then came a Prairie Falcon -


And a Ferruginous Hawk. They all flew from branch to branch right over our heads, seemingly oblivious to our presence (with the exception of the PBS photographer).


After the Raptor Free Flight, there was an indoor show about venomous desert animals - the Gila Monster -


And the rattlesnake. I was glad I was back in the fifth row.


Then after lunch there was another fascination Raptor Free Flight, this one all on the Harris' Hawk. There are 3 of them in the group, and they hunt cooperatively and are supposed to share their food. During the presentation, 2 of them took off to hunt, and one came back with what looked like a small bird.


However there was no way he was sharing...



Another highlight of the park was the Hummingbird Aviary. The birds are nesting at this time of the year. This is an extremely short video of mommy feeding the babies.


In case you missed it, here are two pictures extracted from the video - Mommy,


And the babies.


Nearby was a baby from another nest who had just left the nest the day before.

It was a great day, and I recommend a visit to anyone who is in the Tucson area.

24 comments:

Laurie and Odel said...

Isn't that place GREAT?? When we visited recently, the ravens in the first free-flight show didn't want to go back "home". They kept flying around, having a ball, even though they were no longer getting treats (all the trainers were back in the back, trying to entice them back in). The docent had to come up with a lot of impromptu info to keep the crowd around until the ravens finally went home and the gray hawk (much better behaved) came out. :)

Judy and Emma said...

Good job on the hawk IDs. :)

Jim and Sandie said...

Okay - stop going to all these places. I may not wait until next falls.

Wanderin' said...

Beautiful pictures and great post!

Teri said...

Great pictures of all the birds. I'm hoping to get over that way next fall.

longdog2 said...

Loved the photos. That's a great place.

E Squared and Mui said...

Great raptor shots; I especially like the Grey Hawk.

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

We enjoye the museum, too! It is a gem of a place. I really liked looking at all the snakes in the reptile area. Didn't know there were that many types of rattlers or colors.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Someone forgot their lines and ate the whole bird. He won't be getting the lead next time.

Roxanne
The Good Luck Duck

Sue and Doug said...

great photos today, Diana!..thanks for sharing!..the raptor show must have been amazing...I am with you on the reptiles though..fifth row or at the back of the room for me!

Donna K said...

Great post. I have never been there but you have certainly piqued my interest. There is a similar place near Palm Springs and I loved that. You pictures were great and I enjoyed seeing them.

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Great pictures, we also enjoyed that place:)

Peter + Beatrix said...

What a great place to see! But tell me, were the Gila monster and the rattler LIFE animals? They sure look very much alife!

Diana said...

Yes, the Gila Monster and the rattlesnake were very much alive!

Good one, Roxanne - I was also hoping that wasn't the next bird up on the show...

Thanks, Judy!

Claudia said...

Great Picture. I think I have been 3 or 4 times and never get tired of this place. I've been in the winter, fall, and spring, and each season brings something new.

Sondra said...

SUPER, I love the birds of prey shots you got!! and the hummer video so neat, Ive never managed to find young in a nest of the hummer.

Debra Dickinson said...

Thanks for the introduction to this place. Can't wait to visit. Awesome photos and video. Kudos on the hummingbird video!

trav4adventures said...

Here in Palm Desert, we have the Living Desert Reserve, which is modeled after the Sonora museum. We stopped there once and saw how similiar they are! Lovely shots!

Me and My Dog said...

Beautiful photos - the Grey Hawk is the prettiest bird! I love the markings. I've heard that raptor shows are really something to see.

Bubbadan said...

That was a great post thanks.
Dan

Levonne said...

As I have said, I love the Desert Museum. In addition to all the native species, there is usually a great art exhibit going on there too. That is always a special topping on the cake. Take care...

RiverCat said...

I like the picture of the two hawks on a limb -- all nice shots though. I'll also remember to stop by whenever I make it that way!

ourtakeonfreedom said...

I anticipated being kind of bored at a "Desert Museum" but similarly found it's zoo-likedness to be fantastic. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed.

On Da Road said...

Love your Desert Museum shots, especially the baby hummer feeding. Just got to do the Raptor Flight for the first time yesterday .. was really cool to watch. Your photos were superb.