Open Space Authority Grand Opening of the Coyote Valley Preserve
By Deb Kramer
On a beautiful Saturday day, I attended the grand opening of the Coyote Valley Preserve. The event featured some speakers, a ribbon cutting, and a few local groups. Many people from different environmental groups were present, and it was nice to see many familiar faces.
This is the latest opening of a preserve by the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority. At the event, the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center showed off many birds that are unable to be in the wild any longer, mostly due to their inability to fly. For example, this turkey vulture has a bum wing. Note that the plumage around his neck is in great shape (unlike those in the wild) since he does not feed on carrion. And, did you know that the top of the beak where the nasal cavity is has a large opening so that as the bird is feeding on carrion, it can remove its head from the carcass, shake it to release the flesh that is caught in its nose, and continue eating? Fascinating.
This Western great horned owl had a different situation in that it couldn’t be released since it’s beak was malformed. It would not have survived since it would not have been able to eat. However, I learned that the outer wings have serrations, which make the owl virtually soundless as it hunts, using its large yellow eyes to see at night, and ears to track its prey. A pigmy owl was also on view, who was extremely shy.