Birds of Prey Allow Students' Imaginations to Soar
Posted on: 05/05/2012 04:58 PM

Audubon Program - Supported by Honeywell - Offers Students Hands-On Lessons About Birds and Habitat Conservation
May 4, 2012 - "I liked learning about all the different kinds of birds," said Lauren Clukey, a fifth-grade student at Chestnut Hill Elementary School. "It was cool to actually be able to see how long some of their wingspans are."

Wildlife rehabilitator Cynthia Page gives Chestnut Hill Elementary fifth-grade students a close-up look at a turkey vulture. Students spread their arms to demonstrate how long their wingspans would be during flight.

Thirty-five fifth-grade students from Chestnut Hill Elementary and 60 fifth-grade students from Long Branch Elementary were introduced to birds of prey including an eagle owl, Harris's hawk, and a peregrine falcon on May 2. The lessons, presented by wildlife rehabilitator Cynthia Page, connected students to the world of raptors. Students learned how birds of prey are at the top of the food chain and that improving water quality in areas such as Onondaga Lake is critical to their health and survival.

Page shows students the two "eyespots" on the back of the American kestrel's head that help protect it from predators. Students learn that the peregrine falcon can fly up to 250 mph during a dive.

"For the Birds! is designed to excite our youth and stimulate their interest in birds and bird habitats," said Jonathan Kresge, Montezuma Audubon Center For the Birds! educator. "Through hands-on experiential learning, students are able to develop an appreciation for birds and understand the significant role Onondaga Lake plays as an Important Bird Area."
"Onondaga Audubon Society is delighted that Honeywell is supporting For the Birds! for a second year," said President of Onondaga Audubon Society Gene Huggins. "Birds are a key indicator of the health and quality of our environment and it is critically important for future generations to understand the dynamics between the two."

Alicia Nash, a fifth-grade student from Chestnut Hill Elementary, holds a robin's nest to help illustrate how a baby robin learns how to fly. Destinee Bellomio and Page demonstrate how to care for an injured bird.

"Honeywell is pleased to bring this nationally recognized program to Long Branch Elementary and Chestnut Hill Elementary as part of our collaboration with Audubon," said Honeywell Syracuse Program Director John McAuliffe. "For the Birds! reinforces how essential birds and birding are to the future of Onondaga Lake, and seeks to empower students to take an active interest in protecting and preserving their local environment."
For the Birds!, a multi-session, interdisciplinary, hands-on educational program, is aligned with New York State's performance standards in math, science and technology, and language arts. It was established in 1997 in New York City and has expanded to rural and suburban areas of Upstate New York. The program is sponsored by Honeywell and is part of the adoption of Onondaga Lake as an Important Bird Area by the Montezuma Audubon Center, Honeywell, and the Onondaga Audubon Society.

Page explains to students that the eagle owl is the largest owl in the world. Page demonstrates how the
eastern screech owl uses its excellent hearing to capture its prey.

Over the next three weeks, students from Chestnut Hill Elementary and Long Branch Elementary will also participate in a schoolyard habitat enhancement project and take a birding field trip to Onondaga Lake with Montezuma Audubon Center staff and Onondaga Audubon Society volunteers.
For more information on the Onondaga Lake cleanup, visit

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