Monday, March 7, 2011

World Bird Sanctuary at Carpenter Nature Center

After not having a whole lot of photographic opportunities over the past month or so I was fortunate to have the opportunity to photograph several instances of the World Bird Sanctuary's, "Masters of the Sky" program this weekend.
The WBS performed 7 programs over the weekend at the Carpenter Nature Center. The first program, on Friday night, was a private program for people who are large donors to the nature center. I think that this is a really cool way for the nature center to say thank you to the people who have helped to support them.
On Saturday and Sunday they ran 3 public programs each day. Since this is the third year that the WBS has performed at Carpenter it was no surprise that all six shows were pretty much sold out. I was at six of the shows including the private show on Friday night. The show was a little different this year because this time they brought more raptors with them.
Some of the birds that they brought this year were birds that I have got to know over the past couple of years, like Tigger the tawny owl, the first pic, and Xena the Eurasian eagle owl, the second pic, but many of the birds were at Carpenter for their first visit. During the program they demonstrated raptor flight with several different birds including a barn owl, third pic, and a Harris hawk, above.
One of the birds that I thought was the coolest was Ivory, a white hawk. White hawks are an Accipiter that are found in the rain forests of Central and South America. Ivory was a victim of the illegal pet trade. She was confiscated by the government of Grenada and arrived at the World Bird Sanctuary in January of 1992. It is possible that Ivory is the only white hawk living in North America.
Another new bird to visit this year was Dezzie the hooded vulture. Hooded vultures are native to Africa so it would be a long trip if I wanted to see one in the wild.
They also did flight demonstrations with Dezzie. It was quite different to have a vulture with a six foot wingspan fly over your head compared to the Harris hawk and barn owl. All three were difficult to photograph inside with mostly fluorescent lighting but I did manage a few shots.
The third newbie was a bateleur eagle named Tsavo. Bateleur eagles are also native to parts of Africa. This was the first time that I have had the pleasure to get good photographs of a snake eagle. Eagles are divided into three families, fish or sea eagles like the bald eagle, booted eagles, like the golden eagle, and snake eagles, like Tsavo. Snake eagles have thick padding on their feet to protect them from snake bites, they like to eat snakes, so I was very interested in his feet.
The last bird in the program, and the only non-raptor was a white shouldered raven named Mischief. White-shouldered ravens are native to parts of Africa but Mischief was actually bred at the WBS. Ravens are a member of the Corvidae family and are extremely intelligent. Mischief has learned how to help take donations, a task that is easier since it is similar to food caching behavior that these birds exhibit out in the wild. Even though mischief was not a raptor his enthusiasm could be a bit intimidating for some of the smaller audience members.


jo©o said...

What fun to have them fly so close by. Not easy to photograph.

Sylvia K said...

Oh, I would have so enjoyed being there!! Love the hooded vulture, Dezzie! Never seen one like her! Such a terrific way for kids and grown-ups to learn about such magnificent birds! Thanks for sharing these with us! Have a great week!


Kay L. Davies said...

Fascinating photos. That Dezzie is really something, so is Tsavo, and the white-shouldered raven has a talent for saving money, but I like the first photo best.
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Mama Zen said...

These are outstanding. What a great event!

Frostbite and Sunburn said...

Oh wow - what a treat. And the perfect opportunity to get some great pictures for the blog library! I love owls.

Anonymous said...

Wow - what an experience to see those birds up so close. Wonderful shots!

Pat said...

What a fantastic show that was! Those are some majestic raptors. I think it would be a bit unnerving to have a six-foot-wingspan vulture flying over me, but cool, too. I liked the raven taking the donations. Great shots!

KaHolly said...

Such an incredible opportunity, not just for the spectators, but for the raptors. And yes, for Mischief, too. These are the lucky ones. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures and fun experience.

Afton Runner said...

I enjoyed the program at CNC. Great birds and awesome presentation. Thank you for sharing your photos.

sky Hoyle said...

I saw a white hawk yesterday in Illinois