Birds of Prey – Private Bird Experience

I have been very privileged with people I have met through Photography and various Facebook Groups, to be offered some very exciting opportunites; one of which was a Private Bird shoot with some birds of Prey. So on a cold, wet Saturday Moth, Myself and 18 other people drove up to Garibaldi (near Ballarat) to stand in a field with a keeper, various different birds and our cameras at the ready.  I have not had a huge amount of luck with Bird Photography. My last effort yielded a few fabulous shots, but mostly air and a bit of tail! Sure I’m fine when they sit still………but they fly so fast!

Bird 1
Wedgetail Eagle
Bird 2
Nankeen Kestrel

Most of the birds are rescue birds, some with physical difficulties (Blind, damaged wings), some are imprinted (ever seen a Wedgetail Eagle snuggle and hug a person – it’s cute, but weird), Martin (The keeper) discussed each bird with us, the natural traits, conservation efforts, natural dangers and how that particular bird came to him. Each bird was displayed (quite happily) on Martin’s gloved arm and then he let most of the free fly. This is were the conditions, my camera and my own physical limitations hit a wall. My camera is not overly fast, great for what I normally shoot, but not fast, add the very dark, gloomy conditions, meant cameras had to shoot even faster, and then the birds, some of which are incredibly fast (60kms)…… put it bluntly I got a LOT of blurred air photos, a great shot of the car park, other photographers lenses……….but not much in the way of birds in flight.

Anyway this went on for about 1 & 1/2 hours and then we had a lovely afternoon tea. We got to see Nankeen Kestral (Australia’s smallest falcon), Wedgetail Eagle, Little Eagle, Barn Owl (So pretty and soooooo soft), Peregrine Falcon. It was a educational and very interesting day, especially to see these birds up so close.

Martin and the birds are from Leigh Valley Hawk and Owl Sanctuary. Til next time, happy snapping…

~ Julz