European Barn Owl

Yesterday I promised you to show some pictures from the 31st annual Bald Eagle Watch at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa. This family event celebrates the American Bald Eagle with bird programs, children’s activities, and a lot of information. I attended the event at the information table of the Dubuque Camera Club but also tried to educate myself and network with members of other conservation and nature organizations.

This year the World Bird Sanctuary from Valley Park, Missouri showed their program ‘Live birds of prey!’. Their mission is to preserve, protect, and inspire to safeguard bird species as part of the global community for future generations. They had a variety of owls, hawks, and eagles from Europe, Africa, and America. Most of them are unable to live on their own in the wild, mostly due to human interference in their earlier part of life. We heard stories about illegal animal trading and a mortality rate of 90% as a result. Much needs to be done to educate people about the fatal consequences of wild animal trading.

Bald Eagle

You can take as many pictures as you want during the program but using a flashlight is not permitted. I used the Nikon D750 with Nikon Nikkor 70-200, f/4 lens attached, wide open at f4 and camera set to ISO1600 the whole time. My shutter speed was between 1/15s and 1/80s for the most part. The young presenters of the bird sanctuary moved slowly around with the birds and of course the birds don’t sit still either. With other words, a great challenge and opportunity to practice handholding technique for photographers. I was at Bald Eagle Watch for the third time and it was again an interesting and joyful event. If you missed it, take your whole family next year…