CYSCO, Harris’s Hawk, hatched in captivity in 1994, excelled as a falconry bird, and came to the Schlitz Audubon Center after retirement. ------------ 

It was fun at the 30th Annual Bald Eagle Watch in the Grand River Center of Dubuque yesterday. The event that celebrates the American Bald Eagle had a very good turnout with people of all ages. We had lots of good conversations with visitors at the information desk of the Dubuque Camera Club and the other participating organizations have been very busy as well. The highlight for many guests was without any doubt the live bird program, presented several times during the day by staff and volunteers of the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, Milwaukee WI. The program was great education, not just for all the kids who got involved by Sara, who did a very good job of moderating it.

BARON VON SCREECH, Eastern Screech Owl, lost his right eye in a car accident.

It was allowed to take pictures, even with flash lights, but I decided to use just the ambient light for making some images of the raptors and the people who showed them to the audience. All photos were made handheld at f/4 between 1/20s and 1/40s. The ISO was cranked up to 1600. Shooting indoors is not my usual thing to do and dealing with white balance in very dim incandescent light had its challenges. The presenters moved around to give everybody a chance to have a close-up view of these beautiful raptors and the birds themselves move as well, with other words, not an easy task to get a sharp image.

CUTRIGHT, Peregrine Falcon, a retired falconry bird.

All seven birds of prey that were introduced to the audience (I only show five of them) are unable to make a living out in the wild for various reasons. Since I didn’t make notes (too busy fiddling with the camera 😉), the information about each bird under the photos is from the website of the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center.

TSKILI, Great Horned Owl, was stolen from her nest by a human who wanted her as a pet.

VALKYRIE, Bald Eagle, Was left by her parents earlier than normal. She did not have the hunting skills to survive in the wild. I like this photo because it shows the enormous size of an eagle, next to Sara, the main presenter of the program.

All images: Nikon D750, Nikon Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm, f/4G ED VR