Category Archives: Raptor

Barred Owl On Trident Limb

I took this image back in May and it’s not a whole lot different than others I’ve taken of this Barred Owl or its mate–who could tell them apart?

I do like the three-pronged stick, and of course the Owl, so came  back to it.

We are in the summer doldrums here in SC as far as seeing many birds. Those that were here to breed have mostly scattered and the locals are hiding from the heat and rain.

Barred Owl
Barred Owl

Yellow-billed Kite

When we visited the Center for Birds of Prey in June the Yellow-billed Kite was part of the flight demonstration. First they demonstrated how the bird snatches prey with its feet then passes it to its mouth. It happens really fast and I only captured the pre-swallow moment.

Yellow-billed Kite
Yellow-billed Kite, Radio Transmitter attached

After flying, the Kite perched with the handler, fluffing its wings.

Yellow-billed Kite
Yellow-billed Kite

The handler turned so the Kite was facing the audience.

Yellow-billed Kite
Yellow-billed Kite

The bird adjusted to stay facing right, into the morning wind.

Yellow-billed Kite
Yellow-billed Kite

Turkey Vulture Chicks

I mentioned in a previous post that the Center for Birds of Prey has hosted two wild Black Vulture nests this year.

The Vulture parents picked spots in between the captive birds’ enclosures, which mimic the dark recess they might find in the wild. The female lays her eggs on the ground.

Black Vulture Chicks
Black Vulture Chicks, not yet fledged

The juveniles’ feathers were transitioning from chick fluff, making them look a bit scruffy.

Black Vulture Chicks
Black Vulture Chicks

The Center for Birds of Prey,  Awanda, SC
June 24, 2021

Turkey Vulture, Flying Low

This is the same Turkey Vulture I’ve featured in recent posts as part of the the educational and flight demonstration program at the Center for Birds of Prey, this time showing off his flight skills.

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture Ready to Go!

Turkey Vultures are impressive with their flight skills, easily making sharp turns, using their wings to full advantage.

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture In Flight

It was very cool to see this one glide just above the ground, with seemingly little effort.

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture In Flight In Flight

The Center for Birds of Prey,  Awanda, SC
June 24, 2021

Previous Posts:

Turkey Vulture, Wings Out

Turkey Vulture, Up Close

Gulls Took To The Air

Danger, danger, fly, fly!

Can you spot the Eagle?

Birds in the Air over Bird Key, Stono
Birds in the Air, Eagle is about 1/4 of way in from the left, one of the top birds

This island has a lot of advantages for nesting birds, but it is not without risk. This time the Eagle appeared to leave without a meal.

Birds in the Air over Bird Key, Stono
Birds in the Air over Bird Key, Stono, Mostly Laughing Gulls

About a half hour later it happened again. We were further away from the action and I didn’t capture the Eagle, but this view gives an idea of how many birds are nesting on this little island. And how unconcerned the Pelicans appeared.

Birds in the Air over Bird Key, Stono
Birds in the Air over Bird Key, Stono

Taken from a boat at Bird Key Stono Heritage Preserve
Between Kiawah Island and Folly Beach, SC

July 12, 2021

Red-tailed Hawk, Living with One Eye, Part 2

The one-eyed Red-tail Hawk at the Center for Birds of Prey has adapted and despite my not getting any decent pictures, he flies with ease.

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

At one point when he was on a post in front of us he turned away from the group, likely so he could face into the wind, which was steady with gusts that morning.

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

But he was quick to turn back, the wind fluffing up his feathers was preferable to not seeing movement in front of him.

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

The Center for Birds of Prey,  Awanda, SC
June 24, 2021

Turkey Vulture, Wings Out

Another un-releasable bird that is part of the educational and flight demonstration program at the Center for Birds of Prey is this Turkey Vulture. He was “rescued” when a passerby spotted him on the ground, the normal nesting spot for Turkey Vultures, and took him home. The bird subsequently imprinted on the human and now cannot live in the wild on his own.

Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture

The Center for Birds of Prey,  Awanda, SC
June 24, 2021

Red-tailed Hawk, Living with One Eye

This Red-tailed Hawk is a part of the educational and flight demonstration program at the Center for Birds of Prey.

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

Due to the program setup I was not on the side to see his fully lit body but got backlighting of his tail, which is quite pretty.

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

A key take-away lesson from the center is Don’t Litter! This bird lost his right eye after being hit on a roadway, most likely trying to catch prey that somewhere down the food chain was after something discarded from a vehicle. The medical team was able to remove the eye and he recovered from his other injuries, however he cannot safely be released as he cannot reliably hunt to feed himself.

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk

The Center for Birds of Prey,  Awanda, SC
June 24, 2021

Burrowing Owl, Center For Birds of Prey, 2

Continued from Burrowing Owl, Center For Birds of Prey, 1

New to the educational  program at the Center for Birds of Prey since the last time I was there was a Burrowing Owl.

The little Burrowing Owl (about 5 ounces, 150gm)  is quite striking.

Burrowing Owl
Burrowing Owl

Scanning the sky for safety, the Burrowing Owl was aware of any movement overhead.

Burrowing Owl
Burrowing Owl, Scanning the Sky

The presenters are also on the lookout for hawks and other predators which have been known to drop in on their programs. On this day we only saw Black Vultures and Anhinga passing by.

Burrowing Owl
Burrowing Owl, Radio Transmitter Wire Showing

Without any apparent preparation, the owl dropped into flight.

Burrowing Owl
Burrowing Owl, Radio Transmitter Wire Showing

The Center for Birds of Prey,  Awanda, SC
June 24, 2021