Tricia Booker Photography

Freedom

First flight.

A special thanks to Hillary and John Davidson who hosted us yesterday at their beautiful home near Warrenton, Virginia, for the “End of Summer Hootin’ Good Time.”

Young Great Horned owls.

In addition to fabulous food, lovely live music and many interesting friends and neighbors, a highlight of the evening was the release of two adolescent Great Horned owls rehabilitated by Blue Ridge Wildlife Center in Boyce, Virginia. This pair had fallen out of their nests as owlets this spring and were rescued by good Samaritans who took them to Blue Ridge. There, they were nurtured and fed, taught to fly and hunt before their big day arrived to join their own kind in the wild.

First owl flies off.

Dr. Belinda Burwell, the Blue Ridge Wildlife director and staff veterinarian, releases the first owl, who soared off into the sunset and toward a dense wooded area at the corner of the farm.

Second owl takes flight.

Hillary waited a minute before releasing the second owl, who flew up to a tall tree in Hillary’s yard. There it sat for a few minutes allowing us to observe it while it surveyed the vast new territory. After a few minutes, the owl took wing and soared off.

A new life.

In addition to a great party, the event also served as an educational fund-raiser for the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center as they seek funding for a new building. Guests were introduced to other wildlife, including a skunk, turtles, a rat snake, an Eastern Screech owl and a Red-Tailed hawk. It was a great evening and a wonderful way to say good-bye to summer.

Eastern Screech owl.

19 comments

  1. I came here because I follow Blue Ridge Wildlife on Facebook! They are my favorite!!!! I took a box turtle to them that had been hit by a car and set them up as my daughter’s Girl Scout charity. Just selfless work that they do! And what stunning photos! That you captured them in action with such clarity is amazing!!!

    • Thank you for visiting from Blue Ridge. They are remarkable people. I took a baby squirrel to them as well, and they saved its life. I’m so glad to hear that your family supports their work. The more of us who do the more animals/birds will be saved. A win-win for everyone!

    • Thanks, David! Yes, a gratifying day to be sure. I just love photographing the raptors and hope to join them on future releases. It’s a bit tricky to figure out where to stand since you never know which way they’ll fly. I got lucky on this night!

    • Thanks for the comment, Hillary! You and John are such great hosts, and the party was a blast. I enjoyed meeting new people and connecting with friends, past and present. Of course, the owls were the highlight, but just a wonderful, wonderful night. Thank you again!

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