While I was up at Hawk Ridge I took the opportunity this time to adopt some birds. Adoption is one of the ways that the Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory supports all of the education and outreach programs that they do, not only during migration but year round in Duluth and the surrounding area. As part of the adoption you get the extreme privilege of holding your adopted bird and returning it back to the wild. At the times that I had volunteered earlier in the fall I held back on adopting birds to let other people get the opportunity to experience this rare privilege but with fall coming to an end, the education programs at the ridge end at the end of October, I decided that it was my turn. So I ended up adopting two northern goshawks.
Part of the reason that I decided to go up on Saturday was because it was the last time this year that they would be holding an owl program in the evening. I have really wanted to go to one of the owl programs but because of logistical reasons, like I live three hours away, I had not had the chance. So this time I reserved a hotel room and I was able to make it to the owl program. This was fortunate because it turned out to be a great night for owls. There were several owls that had been sent over from the banding stations and were ready for adoption when I arrived. Most of the owls that were adopted were northern saw-whet owls. These diminutive owls are one of the owls that I was really hoping to see and be able to photograph, since I did not yet have any saw-whet pics. There were five of them that were adopted and when they were released many of them were not in a hurry to leave.
Another owl that I did not have pictures of before Saturday was the long-eared owl. There were two of them that were up for adoption and so I decided that I would adopt one of them.
The final owl that was adopted that night was a barred owl. I have seen barred owls up close before, we have one as an education bird at The Raptor Center, and I have photographed one in the wild in Florida but I still have not photographed one in the wild in Minnesota. I have seen them quite a few times but usually they are gone before I get a chance to get a pic. Maybe I can change that this winter. If you want more info on Hawk Ridge or adopted birds at Hawk Ridge then check out their website here. They do take pics of the release but it will be a while before I get a copy of those, they have a lot of pictures to go through. Once I receive those pics I will make sure that I share them here.