|A vulture on his handlers arm. Look at that wing span!|
Entrance to the facility is by appointment only. A former garage-turned-visitor-center is used for classes in falconing, seminars, lectures and educational programs for park districts, nature centers, schools, scouts, churches, birding clubs – you name it. This particular morning it was a local camera club.
|No wonder I never see them in the woods! Perfectly camouflaged|
|Screech Owl - no bigger than a kitten|
|Barred owl - looking very fashionable, as if wrapped in a scarf. It looked so soft I just wanted to reach out and pet it|
One by one the tethered birds were brought out by their handlers, and gently set atop a tall tree stump for their photo shoot. They all behaved like professional models - turning their heads this way and that, opening their wings to the warm sun. With every turn of the head, camera shutters clicked like rapid fire machine guns.
|A vulture catching some rays|
It was an educational morning. As each bird made its
appearance, Bernie told us the story behind it and other birds they had nursed
back to health. A Hawk, it’s beak shoved sideways after being hit by a truck, a
starving Eagle, birds with broken wings or broken legs - more than a few left
on their doorstep in cardboard boxes.
|Posing like a vulture should|
Most problems can be handled by George or Bernie or the
local vet, but for serious cases they take the injured raptors to specialists
or . They also work with the Geneva, IL , which is well known for its
outstanding work in raptor rehabilitation. University of Minnesota
About 10 or 12 years ago, West Nile virus was ravaging bird populations in theNone of the birds we saw that morning appeared nervous, seeming far less interested in us than we were in them. The owls looked like they would rather be sleeping and the red-tailed hawk was more intent on an ant that had found it’s way up to her perch. It made a tasty snack.
Midwest and elsewhere.
Crows, Robins, Blue Jays, Red-tailed Hawks and Great Horned Owls were especially
hard hit. They died by the thousands and some are only now finally bouncing
|Great Horned Owl|
|Love those yellow eyes!|
|Red-tailed Hawk - now you know how it got its name|
|Beautiful little Kestrel Hawk|
|Trained to fly at the whistle, it gets a nice reward for its efforts when it comes back to its handler|
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