Sunday, November 30, 2014

Raptor Free Flight

Last Sunday I visited the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum attending their Raptor Free Flight show. I hadn't been since February of 2013 (and blogged about it here), but the show is still a wonderful experience.
Before the show one of the Museum staff had a barn owl out for everyone to see. It was nice to get such a close, unhurried look at this beautiful bird.
The show began with a Chihuahuan Raven, which is not an actual raptor. It's also not my favorite bird in the show.
I am much more fond of the great horned owl and was happy that I got some decent action shots of this one in flight.
They really are beautiful birds. On occasion I can hear them from my desert home but, not surprisingly, almost never see one.
The smaller Prairie Falcon was up next.
The Prairie Falcon is a beautiful bird, but the Ferruginous Hawk is even more impressive. Notice that both birds are wearing a radio tracking device on their backs.
The Ferruginous Hawk has an impressive 4-foot+ wingspan and it, as did the other birds, flew very low over the crowd. It was common for me to feel air rushing aside as a bird flew past me. Their close proximity made it difficult to get some good shots, but I did manage to get some that I was happy with.
 After the show a trainer brought out a Harris's Hawk (below),  giving us a nice look at that bird too.
If you are in the Tucson area anytime between now and early April, I highly recommending heading out to see the ASDM's raptor show. They run two shows daily and feature other birds too. Check out their site to learn more.

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