Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Captive Raptors

Late Saturday afternoon, after the Shoot the Hills competition submission deadline had passed, a "Cameras 'n Critters" program was hosted by park naturalist Pat Quackenbush. It was a chance for all us shutterbugs to get up close and personal with some of the park's rehabilitating raptors and other creatures.

First we met "Ivan" the Great Horned Owl. He was quite a handsome fellow.




Looks like Ivan's giving me the evil eye!


Park naturalist Pat Quackenbush with Ivan.
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Notice how Ivan is all hunched over? This, in combination with the chirps he was making, signaled that he'd really had enough of us all and wanted to go back to his enclosure.


The next bird he brought out was a beautiful Red-shouldered Hawk. He's only been at the park for 3 or 4 months, and they haven't named him yet. Look at that wing and the puffed up crest on his head!




Unfortunately this hawk lost 1/3 of his left wing in an automobile collision. He will never be able to fly again. The same is true for Ivan the owl, who is also missing a portion of one of his wings.


Despite the missing bit of wing, he's still quite a majestic-looking bird. I suggested that they name him Cinnamon.


We also got to check out this American Toad. We usually run across one or two of these in our yard every summer.


Nature's camouflage hard at work!


This is a male Red-tailed Hawk that did not get brought out for our close inspection. They have a male and female together in the same enclosure, and I think they are hoping for some breeding activity.

More Hocking Hills photos to come, including water birds,waterfalls, and lots of spring wildflowers!

4 comments:

Ginnymo said...

Awesome photos Heather!! I have a Toad post on my 'Animal Stories" blog. I think they are so cute!
What neat looking birds!!

Shellmo said...

Wow!!! Incredible photos! I'm still in awe of the owl ones!
(If you don't mind me asking - what camera / lens are you using?)

Kelly said...

...wow.....when I saw that owl come into view I think my eyes got as big as the owls! This would be a great place to go to learn how to draw these raptors from life or take photos for study. They are gorgeous!!!

Heather said...

Ginnymo - Yes, I agree that toads are pretty cute... but they are so squirmy! :) I'll have to check out your toad post.

Shelley - Thanks! My camera is a Nikon D50, shot these with a 55-200mm lens. These were captive birds, so when he brought them out of their enclosures we were only about 4 feet away from them, thus the success of a lens that "short". Normally to get shots like this with a wild bird I think you'd need a 300mm lens or longer, and/or some teleconverters.

Kelly - Seems the owl is quite a hit. What is it about them that captivates us so? Yes, it probably would be a good place to go to draw them, as long as they decide to stay in the "outside" part of their enclosures. They were all pretty laid-back birds, though. If you ever decide to travel up to the Hocking Hills, let me know and we can go birding and sight-seeing together!