Category Archives: ARC

Guest post: ARC’s Fall Owl Fest

On Saturday Arthur attended an event at a raptor / rehabilitation center back home in central Florida. While I continue my Illinois visit, Arthur was kind enough to write up what he saw there. Thanks for this, my first blog guest post, honey!

While my wife Amy was off to see the release by Flint Creek of the two Mooseheart Eagles at Starved Rock State Park in Illinois, I drove over to Apopka to check out the annual Owl Fest at the Avian Reconditioning Center. The ARC is open to the public every Saturday from 10am to 4pm (see our visit in September), but the annual Fall Owl Fest is its largest event.

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I got there just after 10am and it wasn’t very crowded yet, but the parking lot quickly filled up. There was live music, activities for kids, green-living exhibits and product vendors, but what drew the most attention was, of course, the pavilion with live owls and birds of prey. ARC’s resident Education Ambassadors were on display on perches and gloves, showing off their beautiful feathers. Among the many birds were two Bald Eagles, a Barred Owl, Kestrel, Swallow-tailed Kite and two Barn Owls.

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In September we got to see ARC co-founder Scott McCorkle fly a pair of Harris’s Hawks. At Saturday’s event he flew a Peregrine Falcon named Cora. The bird first flew around in circles over the excited crowd. Then the falconer took out a corded lure and swung it around and around for the bird to chase. It was very cool to see the falcon swoop by at lightning speed.

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You can visit arc4raptors.org to learn more about the organization.

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ARC’s free-flying Harris’s Hawks

Earlier this month, Arthur and I visited The Avian Reconditioning Center in Apopka. My first post about that visit is here.

After meeting some of ARC’s education birds and learning about them from volunteers, we got a special treat. ARC co-founder Scott McCorkle is a falconer and he brought out two of his birds, a pair of Harris’s Hawks. When we read about seeing free-flighted birds, we didn’t imagine this type of free flight! The birds flew from the pavilion roof to Scott’s glove to a distant tree to a fence post to Scott’s glove again and several perches in between. It was really a treat to see, especially since the birds seemed to be quite playful; one bird in particular was fond of flying through cracks in the roof of the gazebo as a trick.

Harris's Hawks

Harris's Hawk

Harris's Hawk

Harris's Hawk

Harris's Hawk

Harris's Hawk

Harris's Hawk

Harris's Hawk

These photos may not be in exact chronological order, but I’m sure the last picture above was taken towards the end of the demonstration — look at that crop! šŸ™‚

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Visiting the birds of ARC

Earlier this month, Arthur and I visited The Avian Reconditioning Center, a raptor rehabilitation and education organization located in Apopka.

The facility is open to the public Saturdays. Like other similar organizations, ARC relies on the hard work of dedicated volunteers. We got to learn about a few of ARC’s education birds from some of those volunteers.

One of the first birds we got to see was a Short-tailed Hawk. This bird isn’t even on my life list so it was great to see this beautiful raptor up close. ARC has two of these birds; I’m not sure which one this is, but I do remember that the bird’s permanent injury is from a gunshot wound.

Short-tailed Hawk

Next we got to see a Swallow-tailed Kite named Scooter. This is a species I got to see in the wild quite a bit this summer, and it was even our first yard bird (seen from the yard) after moving in to our house in DeBary! I had never seen one on the glove before, though, so this was a very special treat. Scooter in an imprint so she is unable to be released. We learned that Scooter enjoys playing with blades of grass which has earned her the affectionate nickname gardener. I got to see some of this playfulness myself! Note her beautiful dark reddish brown eyes in the video.

Scooter the Swallow-tailed Kite

Scooter the Swallow-tailed Kite

We also got to see Mrs. P. up close. Mrs. P. is a five-year-old Barred Owl. She is imprinted on humans and cannot be released into the wild. I took some glamour shots of this beautiful bird.

Mrs. P the Barred Owl

Mrs. P the Barred Owl

Mrs. P the Barred Owl

Another owl, this time the Great Horned Owl Gulliver, got some more glamour shot treatment. Gulliver cannot be released into the wild due to a permanent wing injury she sustained as an owlet.

Gulliver the Great Horned Owl

Gulliver the Great Horned Owl

Some other birds were out in the yard, but we didn’t get to see them on the glove or hear their stories. These include a Bald Eagle, a Barn Owl, and Red-shouldered Hawk named Pierce.

Pierce the Red-shouldered Hawk

A falconry bird, given up by its falconer, was also in the yard. I think this beauty is a Peregrine-Gyrfalcon hybrid, but I’m not sure.

Falcon

Finally, we got to see ARC founder Carol McCorkle work on flight training with a young, permanently injured Red-tailed Hawk. This bird has a damaged foot which makes her unreleasable. The bird is fully flighted and was training with Carol on a creance.

Red-tailed Hawk flight training

Red-tailed Hawk permanent foot injury

The birds were set up under a large open wooden pavilion, with picnic tables across the front to separate the birds and volunteers from visitors. The exterior of the pavilion is roped off around the back, to protect the birds but allow visitors to see them on their perches. It’s a very nice place for visitors and I’m sorry I didn’t manage to take any pictures of the general area as a whole. Next time. šŸ™‚

Besides getting an up-close look at some beautiful birds of prey perched or on the glove, visitors can also see the birds of ARC performing flight demonstrations. We got to see a pair of falconry Harris Hawks free-flying, and I will share some photos of them in a future post.

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