birds of prey


On May 20th the third graders at Hillside School were treated to an up-close, hands-on experience with a collection of feathered predators. Master Falconer, Jonathan Wood, shared several raptors from diverse habitats. The Raptor Project, is an extraordinary array of eagles, hawks, falcons and owls.

Mr. Wood quickly mesmerized his audience with his love for these creatures. Many of his birds have permanent handicaps and require constant care for their rehabilitation. In order to train these animals, Mr. Wood uses several tools common to the art of falconry. A leather hood covers the rapture’s eyes and helps to keep them in a calm state. Jesses, or strips of leather, are attached to their legs keeping the birds safely tethered to a perch during the show. Mr. Wood wore a gauntlet, or glove, to turn his arm into a suitable perch. This prevents the bird’s talons from scratching him. He was careful to show that all the devices used do not harm the raptors.

The children were captivated by owls flying across the gym, an eagle (Uncle Sam) eating raw meat from a student’s hand and a symphony of bird sounds. Mr. Wood also surprised his audience with baby falcons from a brood incubator.

Jonathan Wood is an exceptional presenter. His unique insights, observations and humor helped to communicate his devotion for these dynamic predators. Each show is dedicated to the men and women serving our country. By his example, students are encouraged to follow their passions and dreams.