The exotic Mute Swan is the elegant bird of Russian ballets and European fairy tales. The name ‘mute’ derives from it being less vocal than other swan species. Here is a mute swan at Swan Lake Iris Gardens, Sumter, SC
Silhouette photography is all about getting your lighting right. A silhouette effect is created when a light source is placed behind your subject, with little to no light in front of your subject. Here the bird and tree are silhouetted against a serene sky.
The King Vulture is an uncommon, large, and spectacular bird of lowland tropical forest, mainly in wilder areas and not around human habitation. Most often seen soaring overhead in mid-late morning, often fairly high up; rarely seen perched. Striking adult has a colorful head and neck, piercing white eyes, and mostly white plumage with a black trailing edge to the wings and tail. Here is a captive, perched vulture at Carolina Raptor Center, North Carolina.
The Bald Eagle has been the national emblem of the United States since 1782 and a spiritual symbol for native people for far longer than that. These regal birds aren’t really bald, but their white-feathered heads gleam in contrast to their chocolate-brown body and wings.
Some bald eagles in captivity at Carolina Raptor Center, Huntersville, North Carolina.
The Eurasian eagle-owl is a species of eagle-owl that resides in much of Eurasia. It is one of the largest species of owl, and females can grow to a total length of 30 inches, with a wingspan of 6 ft. 2 in, with males being slightly smaller. This bird has distinctive ear tufts, with upper parts that are mottled with darker blackish coloring and tawny. The wings and tail are barred and the underparts are a variably hued buff, streaked with darker coloring.
Here is a male Eurasian eagle-owl at the Carolina Raptor Center, North Carolina.
Outstandingly maneuverable, Lanner Falcons use their large tails and relatively low wing loading to perform exceptionally to the lure and can take a range of small birds as prey. The piercing eyes of a Lanner Falcon at the Carolina Raptor Center, North Carolina.
The Lanner Falcon is a large bird of prey that breeds in Africa, southeast Europe and Asia and is a bird of open country and savanna. Males and females look alike, but the browner young birds resemble Saker Falcons even more. However, Sakers have a lighter top of the head and less clear head-side patterns. Here is a male Lanner Falcon in captivity at Carolina Raptor Center, North Carolina.
A small, stocky raptor with black-and-white bands on the tail, the Broad-winged Hawk is a bird of the forest interior and can be hard to see during the nesting season. Its call is a piercing, two-parted whistle. Here is a captive male at the Carolina Raptor Center, Huntersville, North Carolina.
The Barred Owl is a nocturnal bird. It hides in dense foliage during the day, usually high up. May also roost on a branch close to a broad tree-trunk, or in a natural tree hole. May be very aggressive when defending a nest. Here is female version – perched at Carolina Raptor Center, North Carolina.
Carolina Raptor Center (Huntersville, North Carolina) is a living museum, dedicated to the conservation of birds of prey. It is home to over 25 species of native and exotic raptors — hawks, falcons, eagles, merlins, kites and vultures.
Although in captivity, we got an opportunity to photograph some birds in their natural setting. Will be posting individual images of these magnificent birds over the next few weeks.
In addition to numerous sculptures, Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina is also home to many wild species that make the greater area of the Gardens their home. Some of these birds, eagles and herons, have sustained an injury and could not survive in the wild. Their professional zookeepers provide safety, shelter, and enrichment for these birds.