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BOGO…

The Narrows came to me in a brainstorm as a place to go with my friend while she was here.  How often do you get to see raptors up close and personal?  Or at all really.  The brainstorm came to me because while we were at the eagles one day we ran into a friend of mine who volunteers there.  I have walked the trails with him while he held a little screech owl on his wrist and interacted with the other visitors on the trail.  It’s such an unusual way to visit with nature.

But this visit was a little disappointing at first.  There were no volunteers out on the deck with hawks, or Sarge the eagle, on their wrists.  They hadn’t changed their policy, they said, but there is a shortage of volunteers to take the birds out.  A group of disabled veterans arrived as we were getting there also, and I thought they were visitors, but in a little while we saw them out with birds on the trail.  One said that the bird he was holding had had a brain injury, and he had a brain injury also.  It’s a heartwarming place to go.  Maybe a 90 minute drive isn’t too far to go to volunteer…02-29-20vet-owl02-29-20vet-owl202-29-20kestrel02-29-20horned02-29-20Egreathorned02-29-20Easternscreech02-29-20barredA volunteer pointed out the dark-eyed owls and light-eyed owls, and said that the dark eyed ones are spectacular night hunters.  Nature has given them incredible night vision, and I have read that owls can see their prey a mile away, so day hunters also have us all beat by a mile.

I had a plan for the next day also.  I was going to take my friend to the Florida Botanical Gardens for a photo walk with my photo group.  For the heck of it I checked to see where it was in comparison to The Narrows, and it was only two miles from where we were at that moment.  So of course we headed there, but on a chilly day in February it was not nearly the amazing place I have visited in the past.  We didn’t stay long at all, but I am glad to know that I can easily visit these two places on the same day from now on.  Kind of a BOGO!02-29-20rose02-29-20hearts

adventure, birds, Florida landmarks, Florida wildlife, Nature's beautiful creatures, photography, The Narrows

The Narrows…

My friend Larry was already a ‘bird brain’ when he attended a talk given by the director of the Education Center at The Narrows.  When he heard that the director thought that the birds should be among the people, and the people should be among the birds he was impressed.  But when he heard that these birds provide rehabilitation for people who are suffering from trauma from many sources, as well as receiving rehabilitation themselves, and/or a permanent home if they aren’t deemed able to survive on their own, he was hooked and became a volunteer.  A chance encounter with someone with a lot of knowledge of birds, and who was willing to share that knowledge, was what had sparked his interest in birds, and he is doing a great job of sharing the knowledge he has gained.  The volunteers take care of the birds, clean the cages, and hand feed when needed, but also walk along the paths in the park, lovely shaded paths, with birds on their arm, and stop to talk with visitors about the animals.  I wish I had known about this facility when I had visitors recently so that I could have recommended a visit to them.  So I am recommending a visit to you if you are ever in the Tampa Bay area.  You can check them out at Largonature.com.

Hand feeding…4-18handfeeding

This is Slayer. He, along with Slasher, are American Kestrals.  They imprinted with people and that’s what prevents them from living in the wild.4-18slasherorslayer1

Shay is a Red-tailed hawk who lost part of his wing and now is a resident at The Narrows.4-18Shay

When I say that this little Screech Owl is little I’m not kidding.  Take the mental image you just got and divide by two.  Larry had taken pictures of one once, he couldn’t see the bird but took the pictures based on what the people around him were saying, and was amazed when he looked at the pictures in the computer later.  That’s when he saw the owl.  I took this picture when he held this little guy up to demonstrate to me this ability to blend in, and then he did the same for some young girls who were walking along the path.  But the tree he used then didn’t have the heavily textured bark that this tree had and I didn’t expect the same result.  I was wrong, it blended just as well, and the girls were quite amazed.

4-18screechowl14-18screech2If there was an aspect of photography that I would have said that I wasn’t interested in it would have been portraits.  But when you are so close to these birds you almost don’t have a choice, but that’s not a complaint.  When do you get to see them in such detail?

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This Great Blue Heron is just a visitor, but since he posed so nicely I also took his picture.

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