Diesel* (Red-shouldered hawk) was retired from the sport of falconry when her handler realized she only wanted to hunt earthworms and grasshoppers instead of a hawks usual prey. Diesel is a human imprint, which means she does not recognize her own species. Can you imagine what it would be like if you didn’t recognize yourself as being a human around other humans?
Seymour is a Great Horned Owl and the biggest owl I have ever seen. She has been a resident at the sanctuary since 2004 as she had fallen from her nest and broke her wing making her unable to fly; she is used to educate people about owls. Seymour’s feet are quite feathery unlike the other owls I’ve shown but she still has those vicious looking raptor claws. The wind was starting to pick up while I was photographing Seymour causing her feathers to get ruffled you could say but there was always this one feather that stuck straight up while he others fell back into place; you can see it in the photos.
Athena is a beautiful American Barn Owl and a bit of a Grande Dame at the sanctuary. She has been with them for a long time and is about to be retired soon to a life of leisure – not having to be on display. Capturing her image took some maneuvering and patience. She was high up in a pine tree (wonder how they put her up there) and beside having to wait for a good pose, there were other people there taking her photo as well as tree limbs blocking her face as the wind blew.
That’s not to say that an image with the subject being partially obstructed isn’t a good image. Those shots have their merits too as they can tell you more about where and what was going on when the shot was taken. I just wanted to capture all of her clearly because she was so striking on her perch.
While Athena was high in the tree, her European cousin was on the glove of a handler. Monty here is a European Barn Owl and while they look very much alike (heart shaped face and those dark eyes) Monty and his kind are bigger which is something to say considering owls, no matter how feathery they look, really weigh very little. Owl facts: The reason they can fly so quietly is because the edges of their feathers aren’t smooth but are somewhat comb edged which breaks up the air rushing over their wings making them much more stealthy. Barn owls are also the most widely distributed species of owl in the world and they don’t hoot, they shriek.
Another interesting fact is that while we humans have seven vertebrae in our necks, an owl has fourteen which is how they can bob their heads around and do that head turning thing they do so well. Also, both owls and hawks eat their prey whole but hawks can eat every bit of their prey while owls cannot digest fur or bone hence those owl pellets they spit up. Interesting…
Laz blends in very well doesn’t he? Some of the birds were on display (but tethered to perches or trees) while others were brought out on the well gloved hands of staff – still tethered though. There were also other birds in enclosures; some you couldn’t and shouldn’t go in and one – with the song birds – that you could walk through. Several of the animals are ambassadors that go to schools and other places to educate people about the different species.
The Ohio Bird Sanctuary was founded in 1988 to take care of birds that have been injured until they can be released into the wild or to give a home to those that can no longer live in the wild because of having imprinted on humans or being too injured to survive in the wild.
This last weekend of April saw the 16th annual Mohican Wildlife Weekend. What is that? I’m not quite sure I know either but we got caught up in it nonetheless. You can read all about it here since I’m still not quite sure what it was all about but I did learn that it takes place in several different areas here in Ohio. We went to the Ohio Bird Sanctuary to see and take photos of the birds there which happened to be one of the areas involved in the weekends events.
The birds were beautiful, I learned some new things about them, I could’ve sworn one crow said Ohio (or perhaps it was just Hi) and DH got really up close and personal with a Blue Jay. Can you find the little Screech Owl, Laz, sitting in this tree trunk? He blends in very well which you will see next.