( The story, with photos, of a few of the birds at the World Bird Sanctuary.
I wrote this page with children in mind so the language and descriptions are simplified.)

What is a "raptor"? It means a bird of prey.... a bird who catches and consumes meat such as rats, mice, squirrels, fish, snakes, lizards, etc. Raptors have excellent vision, outstanding flying skills, sharp talons and beaks for feeding. They don't sing beautiful songs and they are not very flashy, but they are very cool! Please come see them at the World Bird Sanctuary!


BARRED OWL (Strix varia)

What happened to me? A human found me alongside the road. I couldn't fly away so I was caught and brought to the hospital at the bird sanctuary. My wing was broken. It has been taped back together. I hope to get well soon and be allowed to go home where my family lives. I am a barred owl. I eat mice, rats, insects, lizards, other birds. I usually live near a stream or a lake. If you see me fly at night, I look ghostly and white and very big! In the late winter, you might hear me calling for my mate. My voice is deep and my call sounds like this: "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?" When I am hunting for dinner, I am very focused on my prey and sometimes I fly into a passing car and get injured. Some of us even are killed. If you see me on the ground, please don't try to pick me up. My feet are very strong and my talons are very sharp. Call the WBS and they will tell you how to help me.
To hear me, click here:


RED TAILED HAWK (Buteo jamaicensis)

I am a red-tailed hawk. Like the barred owl above, my wing was also broken. The humans at the WBS hospital taped it back together. They feed me well while I am healing. The lady who is holding me has to wear thick gloves because my feet and talons are so strong, I could tear her hands up without them. She holds me by the thighs. It doesn't hurt me. Isn't my tongue very cool? My eyes are so large in comparison to my head so that I can see my prey from far away. I hunt by day. My food can be squirrels, lizards, insects, snakes, smaller birds, mice, rabbits, rats, and carrion. I am one of the finest hunters in the sky! You can often see me when you drive down the highway. Look at telephone poles and you will see me there, waiting for something tasty to come my way.

To hear me, click here:


GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus)

I am a baby great horned owl, and I am around three weeks old. A red-tailed hawk was attacking our nest and our mother, and I fell out, along with my siblings. A human brought us to the World Bird Sanctuary. I am covered with fuzz because I am so young. If you look closely at my wings, you will see long blue things... those are blood feathers. One day soon, they will be the long feathers on my wings that will help me fly. In this photo, the humans at the hospital are checking me for injuries. I am fine, and so are my sister and brother. We are now in the WBS propagation area, where we will be fed well and then placed with an older adult great horned owl who will teach us to fly and to find food. In just a few months, we will be free again! I hope you will listen and watch for us at night.

To hear me as an adult owl, click here:

AMERICAN BALD EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Hi, my name is Liberty, and the human who is taking me to my perch is named Sue. I am a bald eagle, and I am around 17 years old. I used to live in Florida. I was hit by cars -- twice -- and now my eyes and wings don't work so well, so I live at the World Bird Sanctuary. I have a job. I get to go out to schools and public places with my humans and educate people about my tribe. We eagles almost became extinct in the last century due to human hunting and the use of chemicals in the environment. Fortunately humans woke up in time and began working to repair the damage they caused. This year, the people who work at the World Bird Sanctuary went on a couple of eagle counts. They got in a small plane (sadly, humans do not have wings like us!) and flew up the Mississippi River to Quincy, Illinois, and counted all the bald eagles they saw. Each count came in with over 1,000 eagles! So we doing better than we were when Sue was my age. Back then, there were fewer than 500 nesting pairs of us in the whole United States! We have made a great comeback, thanks to humans who care about us. If you ever want to see some of my tribe flying free, come out to any of the rivers near St. Louis in the late winter and you will see us everywhere! We like to eat fish, so we will live near the rivers where we can find them.

To hear me, click here:




I am a Northern Harrier hawk. My wing was broken and I was brought to the WBS rehab hospital to be treated.
My habitat lies in open prairie and in marshes and wetlands where I search for my prey -- rodents and small
birds. Most hawks rely on eyesight to catch prey. I also use my hearing..... I have a facial disk much like an
owl which helps to focus sound to my ears. Birds do not have external ear cartilage or flaps as humans, cats, dogs,
and other mammals own. Our ears are basically tiny feather-lined holes in our skulls.

Like the bald eagle, hawk, and many other birds of prey, my species declined in modern times because of loss of habitat and by the
use of environmental chemicals. We are not endangered yet however. The photo you see here of me shows that I am a female
northern harrier. I have deep bars on my chest. Male harriers are not as striped as I am.

Click here to hear my voice:


EASTERN SCREECH OWL (singular strix)

I am an Eastern Screech Owl. We come in two color phases -- rufous (red) and grey, depending on our habitat. Our coloration helps
us to blend into tree trunks. We live in variety of areas, including urban and suburban regions. Our prey can be insects, small mammals
such as mice and voles, lizards, and other birds. In this picture, I am being cleaned up because I had been covered with soot, possibly from being in a chimney.

To hear me, click here:



You can email the author at:

Sue Evans

Some of our other fun stuff:
Great horned owl release
Aurora Borealis (northern lights)
Annoying Parrots

Photos and text copyright 2009.