Annual Raptor Release

Earlier this month I attended the raptor release event sponsored by the University of Minnesota Raptor Center.  I’d always heard so much about this annual event in the past and was glad to finally get to go.  This year’s release was held at the Hyland Lake Park Reserve in Bloomington, which is part of the Three Rivers Park system.

There were many opportunities to photograph a variety of raptors since many of the “in residence” birds were on display.  In 3 different rings they had owls, kestrels, hawks, falcons and eagles.  One ring had 3 bald eagles – a small male, a large female and a 3-year-old juvenile.  Sometimes it was difficult to get good shots since there were a lot of people there and the ropes separating the birds from the crowd created barriers that made shooting angles a bit awkward.  Still, I was happy to get some good shots.

After a live demonstration, the actual release took place just as a light rainstorm was starting to move in.  Three birds were released back into the wild: 2 red-tailed hawks who had been hit by cars and one American Kestrel who had flown into a window.  It’s always great to see wildlife sent back into their natural habitats.  Luckily, the staff was able to get the releases finished before it started raining hard.

Red-tailed hawk being released

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