Animals in Captivity Part 5

Toronto Zoo Bird 002

One of my favorite subjects to photograph are birds. I definitely enjoy seeing them out in the wild better than in cages, but I do understand that many birds that end up in zoos are rescued and cannot be released into the wild. I have photographed many birds in captivity and it makes me sad knowing that many people dream of flying free like the birds while there are birds that cannot do so themselves. I understand that there are reasons that birds are kept, even as pets, but I still want to see them fly.

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Sam the Bald Eagle

2016-05-14 - Eagle 005

I started this set with Sam and so shall it end. Once again I have to say that getting to be this close to a Bald Eagle in flight was a great experience. For years I searched for and watched Bald Eagles from quite the distance and to finally get shots like this made me so happy. Eventually I hope to get some photos of eagles out in the wild that compare to the ones I got at this workshop, but that seems a long time off. For now I will continue to enjoy the photos I got and continue to apply all I learned to better capture the wonder of birds of prey in flight!

Eurasian Eagle-Owl

2016-05-14 - Eurasian Eagle Owl 002

This amazing, orange eyed beauty is a Eurasian Eagle-Owl. They are the largest owl species and are the only birds of prey that have orange eyes from birth. This was another stationary photo opportunity, which suited me just fine as I got to get up close and really take in this awesome owl. This was a great opportunity because, as the name states, it is not seen in the wild in Canada.

American Kestrel

2016-05-14 - Kestrel 004

Trying to get a photo of a female American Kestrel in flight was pretty difficult. This one was done indoors in front of a black background (which was not very long across). She was really talkative and so fast. The first time she few across not one of us took a shot, it happened too quick, but after that we all started snapping in an attempt to catch her in flight and in focus! I have seen these beauties out along the back roads of the Waterloo Region, but only ever managed to get stationary photos of them. I am proud of these two in flight shots, though I know there is always room for improvement.

Little Owlets

2016-05-14 - Baby Barn Owl 001

Baby owls, cute right? Well just like any other bird (in my personal opinion) there is a period of time where they are creepy old men lookalikes. The owlet depicted above is a two week old Barn Owl and the photos below are of an 8 week old Great Horned Owl. Once they get past the real awkward stage, they are just as cute as the cuddliest little kitten. This was a real treat to see. I have rarely seen owls in the wild and have never seen owlets so I am extremely happy that these little guys were there for us to meet.

2016-05-14 - Red Tailed Hawkl 001

Next up is this beautiful Red Tailed Hawk. One of my favorite birds of prey to photograph on a regular basis as they are pretty common in the Waterloo Region. I have been lucky enough to get close to them in the wild, watching them hunt and well eat. Often they are found resting in trees or on poles, but once they are infringing on smaller birds territory it is fun to watch them get mobbed. After watching a red-winged blackbird rip out a hawks feather it isn’t surprising that many hawks, and other birds of prey, are missing feathers.

 

Merlin Falcon

2016-05-14 - Merlin 001

This was the first time I was able to see a Merlin Falcon up close and personal! I was too busy watching him to take too many photos, so here are my two favourite shots! It is pretty awesome that for such a small bird of prey they still fully live up to their name as a raptor. They hunt songbirds and small shorebirds. Next time I get the chance to photograph one I will make sure to take more pictures too.

2016-05-14 - Merlin 002

Oliver the Great Horned Owl

2016-05-14 - Great Horned Owl 003

Oliver was the first raptor I got to work with that day. It was a damp, wet morning and what a challenge it is to photograph in the rain! Adds some cool texture though. It was difficult to capture his wings with such low light so I tried something a little more artistic to get the wings blurred a bit. I like the effect, but I still prefer the detail of the wings. Some day I would love to see a Great Horned Owl in the wild.