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Archie

On Saturday I had the privilege of participating in a Raptor photo shoot put on by the Cape Fear Raptor Center. The fee for attendance went directly towards funding the center which rehabs raptors from the area and all over the state. Unfortunately there are birds that are unable to return to the wild but life is not over for them. They become ambassadors for the center and are used for educational purposes and on occasion brought out to photo shoots.

The event had three raptors. Archie the Great Horned Owl pictured here, Nev a one eyed Red Shouldered Hawk and a juvenile Eastern Screech Owl whose name I don’t remember. Prepare to be inundated with bird photos!

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Archie the Great Horned Owl

Cheeky Little Fellow

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Sticking out its tongue at me.

Around the Yard

We have many visitors around the yard and I do my best to capture them. Lately I have been focusing on the Hummingbirds but I did get a bit lucky a few days ago. I have been trying to get a decent shot of the Red Shouldered Hawks that hang around the neighborhood for almost a year now. I will admit that I haven’t put  100 percent effort into it. Well last weekend we had a Hurricane or tropical storm, or whatever it was by the time it hit the Carolina coast. We received some moderately high wind speeds and heaps of rain. The morning after the storm passed the sun began to break through and I noticed that the Red Shouldered Hawk was back. I managed to sneak up on him drying out in the woods. Not the best image quality but the closest I have gotten to the Hawk to date.

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Later that same day I was photographing the Hummingbirds and I happened to look up right as the Hawk was flying overhead. I pointed the camera and began firing away. To my surprise my settings were almost perfect. Sometimes you just get lucky. I now have my first usable shots of the Hawk in flight and am looking forward to getting some more.

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Bonus images of the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. One of them was quite cheeky and looked right at me while sticking out its tongue.

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New Visitors

About a two weeks ago I decided that it was time to thoroughly clean all of the bird feeders around the yard. After a good cleaning and plenty of time left in the sun to dry it was time to replenish seed/suet cakes and place them back on their respective hangers.  Shortly after completing this process I was outside looking at the garden box and the feeders and I saw a little Hummingbird buzzing around one of my seed feeders. The feeder is red which I assume might have drawn it in. After inspecting the feeder and determining that the food provided was no good the little bird buzzed off. I have thought about putting up a feeder for them but wasn’t sure there were any around. Now that I knew for sure and with encouragement from David Akoubian of Bear Woods Photography and Bear Woods Happenings telling me “If you build it they will come” (ha-ha) I decided to put up a feeder.

Almost instantly I had two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds coming to the feeder. They were very skittish at first and if I was anywhere near the window or outside they would not show up or leave immediately if they were already feeding. I was eager to get some photos but I decided to practice patience and let the birds get used to me and the feeder. Well the strategy has certainly paid off. I can now get within about 8 feet of the birds while they feed and they fly even closer than that to me. Here are a few of the photos. I am new to shooting Hummingbirds and the lighting has not been great but overall I am pleased and looking forward to improving.

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Fierce Raptor

Well maybe not so fierce because I have only observed it eating bugs but the Mississippi Kite is fun to watch. They have excellent eye site and are quite capable at capturing flying insects like Dragonflies and beetles. They can put on quite an aerobatic show when when they find a target. They will head off to South America for the winter but I hope they hang out around our house a bit longer.

Shot with my Canon 7d2 and a Tamron 150-600mm lens at 600mm. I rented this lens just to get closer shots of the Kites. Still getting used to the focal length and hoping to get some sharper pictures soon.

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