Pet of the Day

February 7, 2010

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Isis, the Pet of the Day
Name: Isis
Age: 25 years old
Gender: Female
Kind: Red-tailed Hawk
Home: Reddington Shores, Florida, USA
 
   Isis isn't a pet, she's actually one of my best friends.

    Isis was a wild red-tailed hawk who was injured in 1980 or so. She was brought to the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in Reddington Shores, FL gravely injured and very emaciated. With much care and attention she pulled through, but it was then determined that she was blind or had very limited vision in her left eye. With this existing condition, she could not be released back into the wild because she would not be able to hunt successfully; her depth perception was compromised. So Isis remained a permanent resident of the Sanctuary and they began working with her to glove train her so that she could be handled and possibly become an educational bird.

    I first met Isis about twelve years ago when I became an employee of the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary. I was taught to handle her and, although we had a bit of a rocky start, we are now best of friends. I think she is the most beautiful creature that I have ever seen and I have to say that I love her with all my heart. We worked together to build trust and now she allows me to touch her so I can clip her nails and change her jesses (the leather straps used to tether her) while she sits rather calmly on my gloved hand. We used to have to hold her to do these things. I volunteer at the Sanctuary now so I only see her once a week or so, but we always spend time together. I take her out to the beach and we walk into the wind so that she can hover, or we sit in the sun and enjoy each other's company. Many people come up to ask questions about her and take pictures. It is a fabulous opportunity to educate people about the wild birds of Florida, hawks in particular.

    Isis is about 25 years old, which is a quite old for a hawk, but she is healthy and beautiful, even at this great age.

    I included one shot with her tail showing... it's the only one I have! If I take pictures, they are usually head shots because she is sitting on the gauntlet on my left arm and I am shooting with my right hand. She is fed once a day and she eats rats, mice, chicks and the occasional quail. In the wild she would have also eaten snakes and squirrels.

    Red-tailed hawks are usually much bigger than the red-shouldered hawks, especially the females. Their backs are darker - they don't have the stippling that the red-shoulders do on their backs and wings. Yes, the tail is the dead give-away, but once you learn how to spot them, you will never mistake a red-tailed hawk for a red-shouldered again!

    The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary is open to the public seven days a week, 365 days a year. There is no entry fee, it is all by donation and the Sanctuary is run by donations alone. Their website is SuncoastSeabirdSanctuary.com.

    I named my new website (and business) after the influence and joy that Isis has brought to me and call it Red-tailed Music. She is my sister with feathers!

Isis, the Pet of the Day
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Isis, the Pet of the Day
Isis, the Pet of the Day
Isis, the Pet of the Day

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