Callaway Gardens Birds of Prey … And A TreeTop Experience

August 9, 2011 · 0 comments

in Best Road Trips, Road Trip Ideas

These activities are guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping!

It doesn’t take that much to get me excited. I enjoy birds of prey. I like Hawks, Owls, Eagles and even  Buzzards. You too will find an interest in these fascinating creatures when you visit the Birds of Prey exhibition at Callaway Gardens.  Click here to read There is no place like Callaway Gardens.

Trained handlers dressed like park rangers (don’t know if they actually are rangers) share unusual and little known facts about these fierce little creatures. Some of the birds on display were injured before being brought to the Doctors here who saved their lives then gave them a life suitable for animals which have been hurt. Remember the motto of Callaway Gardens … “Connecting man and nature in a way that benefits both.”

Screech Owl

Owls are especially fascinating because we so seldom see them. That is primarily because they fly at night, but they are very secretive in their nesting areas as well. The Screech Owl picture sustained a head injury. Notice that the right tuft of feathers, which we mistake for ears, does not stand up like the ones on his left. This area of his head was injured. The tufts of feathers look like ears to us, but Owl’s ears are actually on the side of their heads. Each one is countered in position, one a little above the other which lets this creature’s keen sense of hearing act as a ‘homing’ device to pinpoint the location of its prey whether above or below.

Among Raptors, each Owl has peculiarities which distinguish one from the other. We have given them names based on their appearance and their known habits. For example we call them Barn Owls because they like to nest in barns.

These birds have a very keen sense of hearing letting it hear it’s prey if it even rustles the leaves on the forest floor. It has silent flight which permits it to approach it’s prey unheard. Since it’s hearing is so keen it is necessary that it’s flight be silent. Otherwise, even the sound of its own flight, would overshadow the sounds of it’s prey.

Demonstration of these fascinating creatures is given three times daily at 1:30, 3:30 pm indoors and at 5pm outdoors. In the 5 pm outdoor showing the larger birds are actually shown in flight. This is an exciting event as the birds are trained to fly directly over the heads of the seated audience. The earlier shows are a God-send during the heat of the summer and days of in-climate weather when the show is moved indoors. You get the same basic information at each show, but the demonstration varies when it is possible to take the show outdoors.

Great Horned Owl in Flight

We missed the 5 pm show this time, but I have seen it on previous visits to Callaway Gardens.  The outdoor show takes place in the Discovery Amphitheater. The picture to the right is taken from the poster for this show. The picture shows a photograph of a Great Horned Owl in flight. At the 5 pm exhibit you get to witness this first hand. The Red-tailed hawk is also part of the outdoor show.

The Virginia Hand Callaway Discovery Center where the theater is for the Birds of Prey Exhibit also contains a small theater which shows a film. There are other displays which change from time to time within this center.

Lining up for Treetop Adventure Treetop Obstacle Course

Nearby at the Square One Activity Center you can rent Bicycles, buy tickets to the TreeTop Adventure, and Light Striker Laser Tag. The TreeTop Adventure is like a zip-line amusement ride but on Steroids. This one takes you from tree to tree using methods you would never attempt alone. This is an extremely safe and well attended experience. Participants have a harness attached to them to prevent dangerous falls. But they must still have the courage to attempt the impossible. There is not room for lots of pictures but see the early-morning crowd waiting in line, on an off-day, to get aboard this exciting adventure. To the right one section of dozens of obstacles to be faced. This has popular use for church groups and corporate training to teach self-reliance and cooperation.

You must be 54 inches tall to enter this activity. Since neither of my grandchildren was tall enough, I had to pass as well. One excuse is as good as another one. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

That’s all we have room for today, but you keep rolling up the miles and dialing up the smiles.

Until next time,

Bill taylor


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