By: randosteve|Posted on: July 15, 2010|Posted in: People | 13 comments

Great Horned Owl.

hood-keeps-them-calmI’ve always thought two things about the birds of prey I see flying around Jackson Hole, mostly around the riparian areas when I’m floating the Snake River. The first being that if I was to be reincarnated as an animal in my second life (cuz I sure hope I get more than one shot), it would be cool to be an eagle, hawk or falcon, and soar across the sky, riding thermals and seeing the world from above. The merlin-is-the-smallest-raptorsecond thing I’ve always thought was that a raptor would be a very cool pet to have. Not only for shock value, but also because they are allowed in our national parks and could fly along during backcountry ski trips and other mountain adventures, meeting you at the top and not having to worry about it crossing your tracks on the way down. 🙂

Redtail Hawk.

raptor-travel-condoNow honestly, I know this is a pipe dream, but there is nothing wrong with dreaming either. Luckily though, the Teton Raptor Center (check out their Wilson Osprey Webcam) and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort make it easy for us to seegrey horned owl feathers-up-to-second-knuckle these amazing creatures up close in their Alive at Five series, which starts at 5pm every Wednesday through August. RandoMom is in town for a few days and I thought this would be a great thing to do after her long flight to JH, so we went out to Teton Village yesterday to see the birds and learn more about them. Some interesting facts about raptors:

jason-jones-and-peregrine-falcon*The Great Horned Owl is the largest raptor.
*Peregrine Falcons can reach speeds up to 220-240 mph when they dive-bomb and can fly up to 75mph.
*The Merlin is the second smallest raptor.
*Owl feathers curl at the ends for stealthiness.
*Mating couples do not necessarily pair for life…a common misnomer.
*A Grey Horned Owl’s feathers are 1-2″ thick.
*Raptor talons are very flexible and can curl up and touch their legs.
*You can support and donate to the Teton Raptor Center…here.