This is a Harris Hawk and his handler. Photographed at the Center For Birds Of Prey, outside Charleston, South Carolina.
It’s obvious why heavy falconer gloves are being worn.
Harris Hawks are native to the southwestern part of the US.
An unusual trait is for these birds to hunt in a pack and cooperate with each other.
They are intelligent and are one of the few hawks used in falconry.
I have shot this particular bird several times and he is one of my favorites.
He is not afraid of photographers, at all. I have seen him briefly land on a camera left sitting on a tripod. None of these ‘professional’ photographers got the shot. Everyone watched, open mouthed, and by the time we got our act together he flew off. Pretty funny.
Recently I was searching for a bird identification. At the time I came across the Lesser Goldfinch. Even though they have a much smaller range than our American Goldfinches there are 2 distinct variations.
Digging into my archives I knew there were some untouched raw files I’ve never processed. They turned out to be the ‘western’ variation. Looking at a map of the ‘eastern’ versions habitat I have a hard time finding where they separate.
Both species only live in the deep southwestern part of the USA. The eastern variation has a much darker head and chest.
The Verde Canyon Railroad is the current version of the old Perkins Copper Mine system. No mine runs now but the rail lines are maintained and several times a week a full train of old Pullman cars makes the round trip.
Tourists are now the cargo. Photographers have open sided flat cars from where the canyons and open prairie lands can be seen.
The round trip is about 4 hours and travels through tunnels, along deep canyons, and even old Native American pueblos high up in the rock.
The destination is the old town of Perkinsville, the mine company town. There is nothing but cattle, Roadrunners, and abandon buildings now. Great photo opp!
The old western telegraph lines caught my attention. Lines were added in the mid 1800’s to provide communication between the town and the outside world. They were never removed and still stand, some wires at the ready. Anyone who has ever watched an old western movie has seen these old telegraphs in action. It struck me as a real piece of the old west, not a Hollywood prop. I liked this as much as anything else on the trip.