Our Education Birds: Orion

Orion is a male Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus). He came to the Raptor Center as a first year bird in August of 2000 with an injured left wing. He had apparently been hit by a car and was found standing on the side of a road. The primary flight feathers on his left wing were all either missing or broken. Although the broken feathers were pulled out to allow new shafts to grow in, the primary flight feathers of the left wing were unable to grow properly because the tissue surrounding the follicles was too damaged.

During the summer, Broad-winged Hawks can be found throughout the eastern United States and southern Canada, often near forests and wetlands. In fall and spring, broad-wings migrate in large groups called "kettles," and spend the winter as far south as Central and northwest South America. Thousand of Broad-winged Hawks can be observed flying over Hawk Mountain Sanctuary near Hamburg, Pennsylvania or Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory in Monroe County, West Virginia during both the spring and fall migrations.



Orion was named by WVRRC member Darlene from Dryfork, West Virginia. In Greek mythology, Orion was a skilled hunter who boasted that he could kill any animal. The Earth Goddess was alarmed by this boastful claim, and sent a scorpion to kill him--it stung himl, and he died from the poison, but Orion was still given a place of honor among the stars. This little hawk, like the mythical Orion, was defeated by a more powerful predator, even if the injuries he sustained were unintentional.

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Orion's Image Gallery:

Orion close-up
Orion and Leah
Orion and Jesse,winter
Orion and Katie at Pow-wow, 2004
Orion in his flight cage
Orion in his flight cage 2

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