Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Raptors at the Midwest Birding Symposium

There are so many things to see and do at the Midwest Birding Symposium that it's a challenge to fit it all in over the duration of the event. One thing I have made time for in both years that I have attended was a stop at the display set up by the folks at Back to the Wild. At Back to the Wild, they rehabilitate all kinds of native Ohio wildlife, but the stars of the show at the Midwest Birding Symposium, as you might guess, are birds. Specifically, raptors. In addition to rehabilitating injured wildlife, they also provide educational opportunities to the public, such as their display at MBS. They brought along a whole host of owls, hawks and other prey birds, several of which I will share here.

Seeing wild, uninjured Bald Eagles was a pretty easy thing at this year's MBS - I saw at least one flying high in the sky every day that I was up there. The Back to Wild folks brought 2 Baldies with them this year.

There's no denying that Bald Eagles are regal and majestic-looking. Sadly, their voice doesn't quite match up to their appearance and reputation (the long "KEEEEEEEeeeeer" sound you hear dubbed in the movies when a Bald Eagle flies over is actually the call of a Red-tailed Hawk!), but we did get to hear one of their 2 Bald Eagles vocalize a little bit. That was the first time I had heard that in person. As luck would have it, the next day I heard that vocalization yet again, only this time from a wild Bald Eagle flying overhead as a group of us was walking through the woods. That was pretty cool!

At the other end of the size spectrum was the smallest raptor on display, this cute little Saw-whet Owl.

These itty-bitties are pint-sized compared to the Eagle. There's nothing in this photo to give you a sense of scale, but I bet this owl is smaller than your head.

"This is my good side!" says the wee owl.

As enamored as I was with the Saw-whet (I would have loved to take him home in my pocket), I was also quite enchanted with this Peregrine Falcon.

This is what a Peregrine looks like when you catch him mid-floof.

Time for a little stretch.

Want to see raptors like this up close and personal? Then you should pre-register for the 2013 Midwest Birding Symposium, which will once again be held in Lakeside, September 19-22. Click HERE to pre-register. C'mon, you know you want to!


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

But Heather- what about the Turkey Vulture???

KaHolly said...

Beautiful birds!

Heather said...

Lynne, I'm sorry, but I didn't spend any time with the TUVU. =hanging head in shame=

Red said...

I once asked a trainer /keeper of these birds why they were so calm and well behaved . The answer was simple....food. These birds respond well to treats just like a dog.

Heather said...

Red: Yes, that would make sense. They don't have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, and they feel like they are safe - I'm sure that goes a long way toward making any animal feel relaxed, including humans! One of the Bald Eagles in their display got a little cranky at one point (that's when we got to hear him vocalize), so one of the volunteers took him off his perch and let him walk around on the ground for a little bit to give him a change of pace. I'm sure standing on a perch all day gets boring!

Kay said...

Great photos! (Great birds!) The symposium sounds like fun. We have less than a month til our RGV Birding Festival--I can't wait.

Dee said...

Wow! Cool pictures.

Scott said...

That last picture of the falcon is stunning. Great report and great photos.