Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Outdoor Discovery Center

I had a chance to go the the Outdoor Discovery Center in Holland last week and photograph a couple of owls. A small group of photographers was meeting there Thursday evening, and I was invited to come along.

The Center has several rescued raptors, including a Kestral and Eagles, along with the owls. We were able to photograph two of the owls, a Great Horned Owl, pictured above, and I believe a Short Eared Owl. Both birds had been hit by cars and brought to the center. The Great Horned Owl, while able to fly, had nerve damage to a wing and was not able to fly long enough, or far enough to hunt. The Short Eared Owl had a damaged wing and was unable to fly at all.

In the lower photo above, the owl has its beak open because it was panting. It hadn't been around people lately, and it was stressed. Like a dog, they will pant to get rid of excess heat.

This was the first time I had been this close to these birds without bars or glass between us. The small group of us spent about a half hour with each bird, along with the handler.

Both gorgeous birds, it's sad they are unable to live in the wild, but at least they survived the encounter with the cars.

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