Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Highlights from the 2019 Raptor Fest in Central Park

Below are some highlights from the 2019 Raptor Festival, which took place in Central Park this last weekend. The event was hosted by the NYC Urban Park Rangers, who are celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. The festival featured a fantastic variety of raptors including owls, hawks, falcons, eagles and a vulture.

This is a Eurasian Eagle Owl, whose brilliant orange eyes gave me chills.

Eurasian Eagle Owl

Check out those massive talons.

Eurasian Eagle Owl

Eurasian Eagle Owl

Compare the bright eyes of the eagle owl with those of the Barred Owl, which are very dark.

Barred Owl

This is a lovely Black Vulture.

Black Vulture

Her wingspan is enormous. Although I see vultures soaring over the city, I was thrilled to see one this close.

Black Vulture

Bald Eagle!

Bald Eagle

This Harris's Hawk put on a lively flying demonstration.

Harris's Hawk

Notice the differing patterns on her wing feathers - this hawk is molting from juvenile to adult plumage.

Harris's Hawk

Harris's Hawk

The colorful American Kestrel is always a crowd-pleaser. These little falcons nest here in the city.  

Kestrel

NYC is also home to the fastest animal on the planet, the Peregrine Falcon.

Peregrine

This year, Raptor Fest included several birds I've never seen before, one of which was this gorgeous Aplomado Falcon.

Aplomado Falcon

And a Saker-Gyrfalcon hybrid.

Gyrfalcon hybrid

Gyrfalcon hybrid

The most unusual bird of the day had to be this African Crowned Eagle. Its size and presence were stunning, and everyone had to get pic!

African Crowned Eagle

African Crowned Eagle

Many of the birds on display were non-releasable due to injuries. This Eastern Screech Owl is blind in one eye and is in the care of Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation (WINORR).

Blind Screech Owl

Many thanks to the NYC Urban Park Rangers, Bobby and Cathy Horvath from WINNOR, and all the falconers who shared their beautiful birds and made it such a fun and educational day.

See many more photos from this exciting day over on my Flickr page.

Previously.

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