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Raptor Rapture

This is a discussion on Raptor Rapture within the A Kodak Moment: not necessarily plants... forums, part of the Orchid Photography category; The public library had a raptor presentation yesterday for the kids, and I offered to ...

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  1. #1
    Piper's Avatar
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    Default Raptor Rapture

    The public library had a raptor presentation yesterday for the kids, and I offered to play class photographer. It was tough to get good shots... The birds moved about unexpectedly, I couldn't get close during the talk, and there's a delay in my digital camera between when I hit the shutter, it does it's auto-focus thing, and then the shutter finally snaps.

    Irregardless, it was very fun. It's always great to see these magnificent wild creatures!

    This is a red-tailed hawk. The second set will be of a kestrel, and finally a barred owl. All are native to Massachusetts.

    Julie
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    Default Kestrel

    She was smaller than I expected, and she cried continually with a keeee, keeee, keeee. Not upset, just talkative.

    Julie
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    Default Barred Owl

    All of the birds protested coming out of the carriers. That meant lots of theatrical flapping. By the time the owl came out, I knew what was coming and was in the right spot to get a pic!

    He's just been set on the perch in the second shot. He's irritated by now, and it shows! (bad feather day...)

    The third shot was after the program was over, so I was able to get a nice close up. Red-eye is unavoidable. I tried editing it out, but it took all the life out of the eyes. So, it stays!

    Last shot is the packing up, ready to head out.

    Here's a wonderful Web journal, if anyone's interested in learning more about barred owls. I've been following this site for several years and the photos and calls are amazing! Enjoy!
    http://www.owlcam.com/

    Julie
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    Kestrels are a lovely bird.... their territorial cry is more of a keeleeeee keeleeee. They are a delight to watch when they hunt.

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    LOL - I knew you'd be all over this post, Diane! That was half the reason I posted the pics.

    It was an Audobon group that either rehabs the birds and releases them, or just keeps them. Some yohoo thought a kestrel would be a neat pet. When the local officials found out, the bird had already imprinted on the owners, making it unsuitable for release. So it will spend its days at the raptor center, in a fine raptor P&M (sort of an equivalent to B&B - perch and mice).

    The hawk had wing damage that's healed, but she was also blind in one eye, which means no flying (no depth perception - all important to hawks). She's a full time resident too. I don't remember the owl's story. I was working hard to get clear pictures with her.

    Because these guys do so many kids presentations, they don't name the birds. They refer to them by their species. They want to stress to the kids how they're wild animals and not pets. So I met, red-tailed hawk, kestrel, and barred owl yesterday. A good day!

    Julie

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    what a neat learning experience.... and the look on the kiddies faces.. how they change from the hawk... "awe, fear (?)" to the kestrel... few more smiley faces there!

    I like the flapping photos.. no reason, I just like!

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    Wow, those guys are so beautiful. Thanks for the photos!!

    Cheers!
    BD

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    Well, I could wax poetic for hours over the birds, but I don't want to scare everyone away from the forum. The Red-Tailed is the all-American Hawk, found all over the US and Canada, With regional sub-breeds as well as 'phases' - as in light phase (they are white with dark markings and that fabulous tail) and dark phase (they are almost completely brown, including the breast, but still the red tail)... Distinctive wing form when flying..

    And the owl. Well owls are just cool birds. All owls.

    But the Kestrel, ah, a real live falcon - albeit a very small one, but with all the classic markings and wing form. Wonderful flight patterns, excellent hunter... I used to drive along a certain road just about every week, and every time I went there was a kestrel sitting on the same road sign, scouting out for food...

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    Bird talk is a-ok by me! (and Diane's a pro!)

    Pale Male is of the lighter phases of red-tailed hawks. He earned fame in 1994 when he took up residence in Manhattan (nesting right over Woody Allen's apartment off of Central Park West.) A documentary was made that's wonderful (called, Pale Male.) He's been raising families yearly now, since that time. Raising kids in the city is even tougher when they have to learn to fly from atop a skyscraper! (Not very hawk friendly.)

    Check out www.palemale.com to follow this season's nesting progress. You can also order the movie from there.

    Owls are amazing! The barn owl is my favorite. I could babble on about their unique physiology, but then only Diane would be listening (and she already knows it!) There's another great video made in a guy's back yard, about a barn owl family nesting in his owl box and then teaching the kids to fly. It's short (30 mins) but fascinating and very well produced.

    http://www.barnowlvideo.com/

    The kestrel is smallest of the true falcons (which include merlins and peregrines.) The distinctive wing shape Diane speaks of is evident in the picture where his wings are extended. From the body, the wing rises to a sharp point, and then trails down to a very pointy wingtip. Only falcons' wings are that shape. That, and their relative size, make them very easy to identify high overhead.

    Julie

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    Thanks for the photos . You did a good job with them .

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