A few days ago we went along with some friends on a surprise adventure to the Carolina Raptor Center ~ a place whose mission is, "dedicated to environmental stewardship and the conservation of birds of prey, through education, research, and the rehabilitation of injured and orphan raptors.". It was in the mid-90's out, but our love of birds, and the grace of the shaded woods were enough to get us through...
The current exhibit is "Family Corvidae: Where Human Superstition and Mythology Meet Bird Intelligence". How could we resist?
If only you could truly tell through this photo just how massive this bird really is. The scale of the photo does it no justice. All I can say is for those who easily confuse and interchange names between Ravens and Crows? When you see real, honest to goodness Ravens ~ there is no room for confusion.
These barred owls were incredibly accommodating of us temporarily interrupting their day of sleep:
A rescued one-eyed golden eagle retains every bit of his natural magnificence:
Another owl (I believe it's a short eared owl), wondering what this whole bright sun-during-the-day thing is all about:
A black vulture, aka Coragyps Atratus, with it's matte black, sheenless feathers. I'd name him Grim.
For a bit of contrast ~ a vividly hued American kestrel:
The pitch black silhouette of a giant raven against the lush surrounding woods:
While I prefer to avoid getting cage wires in animal photos whenever possible, I had to be highly aware of my surroundings (not just those within the camera's viewfinder in cases where multiple birds were present) when taking some of these. Remember, these strong beaks can come at least a beak's length beyond the cage openings should they so choose, and keeping fingers attached is a very good thing indeed!
The African Pied Crow ~ exhibiting that classic blue-black sheen upon its shoulders:
A charming Magpie ~ the intelligence and cleverness can be seen in her eyes:
Here's the Magpie showing off her beautifully iridescent plumage to the fullest advantage:
At one point we spotted half of a snake on the wooded path. I'd never seen ~half~ a snake before...