Read a first-person account of raptor rescue in Beijing by vet Kati Loeffler of the Beijing Raptor Rescue Center.
In addition to the threat from poisoning, vultures are shot in China for their feathers, which are used in decorative fans, and nests are destroyed. Destruction of the nest is serious, because these birds are slow to reproduce, usually laying a single egg.
When perched, a long-eared owl can stretch out its body and extend its ear tufts, smoothing its feathers until it resembles a tree limb. This camouflage can help it escape its many predators, from other owls and raptors to raccoons. How many owls can you spot in this photo?
The Beijing Raptor Rescue Center also cares for birds confiscated from the city’s illegal trade in wild animals. Some of their other patients include the common kestrel, the red-footed falcon, the golden eagle, northern eagle owl, oriental scops owl, and the little owl.
Do you live or work in the city? Have you spotted peregrines from your fire escape, or watched nesting hawks raise a brood on the roof of the office building across the way? Share images of your own urban raptors through the EOL Flickr Group.
If you’re planning a trip to Beijing, visit birdingbeijing.com, where expat Terry Townshend notes recent sightings and shares advice on what it’s like to go birding in a non-birding culture.