Beautious Maximus Hawkious!
©2011 Susan Ogden-All Rights Reserved Images Thruthelookingglass
Not the most “AWESOME-OUS shot i have ever taken of a Raptor.....but not bad through a fence and mesh netting! i was so taken with this big boy’s beautiful feathering. Sadly, i can’t remember which one this was.....Broad Wing?, Red Tail?, Red Shouldered? it has been so long since i have hiked, caught and banded any of them. Somewhere safely tucked away, i have a set of slides and all of the information and photographs on the banding process that i helped with, which i used for presentations to science classes at local schools. I have held Raptors of all shapes and sizes....with the exception of the Golden Eagle that we caught as we were just about to pack it in and hike down the mountain after a very long day. It’s wingspan was probably a foot and a half longer than i am tall, and watching the guys try to hold it and seeing the force it exerted in attempts to fly as they held it, pulling their arms upward made me think twice.....if i ever let go of that one they would have killed me on the spot, and if i managed to hang on, i envisioned myself being taken away over the tree tops, to who knows where!!
I finally stopped banding when i was 8 and a half months pregnant with my oldest daughter. (Banding season is in the fall, during migration.....i was due with her on Oct 17th)....John, the bander that i travelled with refused to take me hiking up the mountain to band unless my doctor gave the ok....he was TERRIFIED and figured my doctor would say no to me when i asked. I KNEW she would not....she was a very progressive older woman, who was sure that i could handle it, since i was so active all through out the pregnancy! John’s face was priceless when i told him i got the ok! i hiked to the ridge....helped to carry the bait birds and supplies, helped set up the nets, documented the catches and monitored the weather conditions hourly, for the entire day....without having to pee once!!!! John was very impressed. 5 days later i had Brittany (5 days early)...John still considers it “a close call”!!!
I would love to start banding again. there is nothing that compares to the rush of getting one of these birds and holding it in your hands.....they are power and grace in avian form.
This handsome fellow resides at the Raptor Trust, in Millington, NJ. A non- profit Raptor & Avian Rehabilitation Center, owned and operated by my dear old friend Len Soucey, and his lovely wife, Diane.