On the weekend of 10-11 October, the Illinois Beach State Park Hawkwatch celebrated their 10th year with an open house weekend. As part of the celebration, education birds from a new group, The Northern Illinois Raptor Center, were on hand. The birds wowed the crowd with their beauty while their handlers told us about them and answered our questions.
The NIRC was formed after the raptor program at the Springbrook Nature Center was discontinued due to lack of funds. This is their (western) Red-tailed Hawk.
The NIRC now has four birds which are currently housed with NIRC team members while construction of their new facility at Vogelei Park in Hoffman Estates is underway. This is their American Kestrel.
The birds are used for education programs. The group eventually plans to also rehabilitate birds in need when their facilities are completed. This is their Great Horned Owl.
I love Great Horned Owls, but I love Barred Owls even more. Look at this beauty, the NIRC’s fourth bird.
It’s always so great to see raptors like these up close, and to hear their stories. I so admire everyone that works with these beautiful raptors and their dedication to both their birds and to educating the public. Big kudos to the NIRC and everyone else involved with caring for birds of prey. Thank you for all you do.