Daily free flight demos at museum through April 11
Contributed photo, A great horned owl.

Raptors take to the sky at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in free flight demonstrations now through April 11.

Trainers conduct two outside demonstrations daily, showcasing a variety of hawks, falcon and owls along with roadrunners and ravens. The 10:30 a.m. show features three to four species that vary from day to day and may including Chihuahuan ravens, barn owls, great horned owls, ferruginous hawks, gray hawks, prairie falcons or greater roadrunners.

The barn owl, often featured in a morning demonstration, can locate a mouse in the black of night from 100 feet away, thanks to keen sight and even keener ears, a release said. "Although it's about the size of a cat and has a wingspan of 42 inches, this bird of prey weighs only one pound. Its silent flight and sharp talons are no match for an unsuspecting rodent."

At 1:45 p.m., a second demonstration is presented featuring a hawk that is becoming a frequent and much-loved denizen of the Old Pueblo. Although martial and fierce in appearance, Harris's hawks typically live in families of three to seven and work closely together to hunt their prey and raise young.

"Exciting cooperative hunting tactics are often seen during demonstrations and, as with all families, disagreements sometimes arise," the release said. "Hawks resolve conflicts with or without fighting, such as the larger female hawk asserting her dominance by pushing smaller males off the tops of saguaros."

Raptor free flight demonstrations run every day through Sunday, April 11, and are free with museum admission.

The museum is located at 2021 N. Kinney Road.

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