I spotted this pair of American bald eagles roosting over the banks of the Yellowstone River last January. Bald eagles are becoming more of a common site in this area after having been nearly wiped out through sport hunting and the use of pesticides . Thanks to reintroduction programs and the regulation of chemicals like DDT, the eagles’ numbers are rebounding throughout much of their natural range.
Meet Teasdale, one of the rescued birds of prey you can visit at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Raptor Experience.
‘Teasdale’ was found by a man hiking near Teasdale, Utah. He had a broken wing that later healed in a maligned position, making it impossible for him to fly any significant distance. Since he will never be able to return to the wild, Teasdale has been adopted to serve as an education bird teaching the public about birds of prey.
Great horned owls are the most common owl in North America, and get their name from the obvious feather tufts atop their heads. Even though these tufts resemble ears, they actually have nothing to do with hearing. In fact, they are thought to aid in camouflage by creating a profile that can better blend in with a background feature such as a tree trunk. Great horned owls are voracious predators whose prey can include a large variety of creatures such as skunks, rabbits, squirrels, other birds, and even domestic cats and dogs.
The rough-legged hawk is one of most common hawks in the northern hemisphere. Almost the entire population leaves the Arctic breeding grounds in the Fall to spend the winter in Canada and the lower 48, spending time in open-country prairies and marshes similar to their summer homes in the Arctic tundra.
Although similar to the red-tailed hawk, rough-legs can be distinguished by longer wings with light-colored leading edge, and dark markings on the edge of its tail feathers.
This individual was photographed at the Yellowtail Wildlife Managment area near Big Horn Canyon.
The short-eared owl is a hunter of the open grasslands, and one of the most widely distributed owls in the world. They are distinguished by large, round heads and beautiful mottled streaks on their chests. I photographed this one on New Year’s Day near Acton, Montana.
Meet Isham, a rescued red-tailed hawk whom I had a recent opportunity to photograph at the popular Raptor Experience presentation at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West museum in Cody, Wyoming.
Isham, named after one of Buffalo Bill’s favorite horses, was struck by a car and suffered an injury that resulted in the loss of his right eye. Since he is not able to survive in the wild, he was trained as an educational bird and has been teaching the public about birds of prey for about five years.
Red-tailed hawks are the most common hawk species in North America, and they can often be spotted roosting on bare branches or telephone poles along country roads.