WHO: Scott Fritsch-Hammes, one of more than 40 volunteers with Santa Barbara Audubon Society’s Eyes in the Sky wildlife education program.
WHAT: Ivan the red-tailed hawk, one of seven rehabilitated birds of prey — Ivan, plus three owls, two kestrels, and a peregrine falcon — unable to return to the wild. After a vehicle strike left Ivan with a bum wing and blind left eye, he was cared for initially at Ojai Raptor Center before joining Eyes in the Sky in 1998.
WHERE: The birds gather at the Mission Rose Garden, where their volunteers talk mostly about natural history.
WHEN: From 2-4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, plus at the same time on Thursdays and weekends at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, where Eyes in the Sky is stationed. However, while the museum undergoes extensive renovation, the birds are being kept in aviaries off-site.
WHY: “I got addicted to raptors a few years ago, just going out to Lake Los Carneros to observe and photograph them,” Fritsch-Hammes said. “Red-tailed hawks are so impressive to watch. They have a regal quality about them.”
HOW: With a rotating staff of volunteers, the birds are fed — mostly mice and rats — and regularly weighed and examined. “Taking them out every day is not just for people to see and learn about them,” Fritsch-Hammes said. “It’s also to keep them mentally stimulated and healthy.”