I spent most of my day on Saturday at the Hyland Lake Park Reserve.
As one of the larger parks in the Three Rivers Park District Hyland has a lot to offer. At the visitors center you can rent skates during the winter or a canoe during the summer.
They also have a state of the art play area, called Chutes and Ladders, for the kids.
The reason that I was there for though was this years Spring Raptor Release for The Raptor Center.
I arrived at the park before anyone else from The Raptor Center so I decided to take a quick look around. Visitors were already gathering for the event like a couple of pair of wood ducks that I found high in the trees. I always wonder how they can perch this way with their flat webbed feet. Since the event was a raptor release a wild broad-winged hawk showed up and perched in a tree close to where the birds were do to be released.
The ducks and red-tail did not hang out to long because the crew from The Raptor Center arrived along with our gang of education birds. Although there was nothing to be afraid of from Casper the friendly red-tail, with his bad wing he can not really fly.
Kettle our broad-winged hawk was there. He was shot with a bee bee gun when he was in the nest and still has a bee bee in his head. Unfortunately it is lodged to close to his brain for us to be able to remove.
We brought Jack, one of our imprinted male American kestrels, to the event but he was a bit unruly. The male kestrels tend to get a bit territorial around this time of the year, which makes them a bit of a challenge, so we gave him a break and brought out Cinnamon, our female kestrel. She is always a star.
I was stationed in the hawk and eagle ring so I was responsible for answering questions about these birds as well as protecting them from rampaging children who wanted to pet the birds. I don't think that Taiga our female merlin falcon would have appreciated that.
I did have the opportunity to handle at the event, under the supervision of a staff member, but Artemis, the bird who I have worked with the most, was busy with other new handlers. She is such a great bird that she is often used as the first bird that a new handler begins with.
We also did have a couple of our eagles and Nero our turkey vulture in a ring and several owls in a ring. We even brought out Otus, who is an eastern screech owl. The staff has been working hard with Otus especially since Squeak passed. Squeak, who was a grey phase eastern screech owl shared a mew with Otus.