For our fifth trip we visited the Aviary at Rocky Gap State Park. The Aviary shelters previously injured raptors such as a Red-tailed Hawk, a Great Horned Owl, a Screech Owl, a Black Vulture and even a Bald Eagle. We learned that Red-tailed hawks get their name from their red upper tail and they are one of the most common hawks in North America. They are incredible flyers able reach speeds from 20 to 40 mph on a normal basis but while diving for prey they can reach speeds exceeding 100 mph! We learned that the Great Horned Owl are the fiercest, most powerful and aggressive of all the owls! With incredible strength in their talons and eyes that are 35 times more sensitive than a humans, they are keen hunters able to monitor prey as far as 100 yards away.
We learned that the Black Vulture soars above Turkey Vultures and can be recognized by white patches near the wingtips. They mainly eat carrion and can often be seen along roadways. They live together in groups of over 100.
Finally, we learned that the Bald Eagle, since 1782 the national bird of the United States, can grow up to 3 feet tall and can have a wingspan 8 feet wide!! They mostly eat fish but have also been known to eat carrion. The Bald Eagle at the Rocky Gap aviary was rescued after being hit by a car and losing its ability to fly.
The Bald Eagle was definitely prestigious and awesome to see! It is truly an amazing looking bird. The Black Vulture was also one of our favorites because it was extremely interactive with us! The bird kept walking on the edge of its cage closest to us while pecking at the fence nearest us!
The Aviary also presents a “Scales and Tales” program that tells the stories of some of their animals and allows the children to touch snakes and turtles. It’s a worthwhile experience for the kids.
Time Spent: About 30 minutes