Monday, 24 October 2011

Festival of Eagles and Birds of Prey

A few weeks back, Canmore held it's annual Festival of Eagles. A lot of golden eagles migrate right past town, though they are up 4,000' in the air when they do so. However, if you know what you're looking for and have a good set of binoculars or a spotting scope, you can see them. At the downtown event, they had spotting scopes set up and we saw 4 in the space of a half hour; later that day I saw 3 more. On the peak day so far this year (about 2 weeks ago), they saw 553 at an official observation station not far from here. So far, some 2,400 have been sighted during this migration. I got no photos of them because they are mere pinpricks in the sky.

But the Alberta Birds of Prey Foundation always comes to the festival giving you an opportunity to get up close and personal with golden eagles and other raptors, all of whom are injured in some way and not releasable back to the wild.
Spirit, the blind golden eagle
Burrowing Owl 
Kes, the American Kestral
A barn owl
There's nothing wrong with the barn owl, but they're not native here, so his release isn't permitted.

At the Festival, we (and 78 others!) had an opportunity to go on a birding walk with Ben Gadd, who is a truly wonderful person and an exceptionally knowledgeable naturalist. We are the proud owners of several of his books, which he was kind enough to autograph for us. There weren't a lot of regular birds out, but we did see the rare Humanbird flying over town.
A paraglider coming in for a landing
The paragliders launch off Mt. Lady MacDondald where we hiked last week.

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