Behind the Photo Fridays / Photography

The Rehabilitated Raptor

The Rehabilitated Raptor

It was up to you, and you chose… Animal!

My dad has become a transporter. No, not a transformer, though that would be awesome, but a transporter. And not of anything weird or illegal, but of something far cooler. Raptors.

He gets a call every so often from the International Owl Center in Houston, MN to see if he can make a run. He’ll either pick up an injured raptor (owl, eagle, hawk, etc…) and drive it to The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota to be cared for, or pick up a rehabilitated raptor and drive it back down to the Houston area so it can be released in the same location where it was found.

When my dad called me last week and asked if I wanted to ride along to pick up a rehabbed screech owl and be part of the release I didn’t even have to think about it, I was in!

We drove to The Raptor Center, rang the bell out front and said we were there for the owl. Pretty soon they brought up this little tiny cardboard box with holes poked into the sides so the little feller could breathe.

We got our new friend, Little Screech, all settled on the floor in the back next to me. He didn’t make a peep the entire way. I wondered if he was still breathing in there, but I didn’t want to shake the box to find out. Poor thing would think he was in an earthquake!

When we got to the designated point, we called Karla, the Owl Center gal, and she met us along the road where we proceeded to follow her around the hills and down into a steep driveway overhung and thick with branches and bushes. What was back here?!

We parked to discover a gorgeous piece of property with a very old cabin and the prettiest barn I’ve ever seen. It was where Little Screech had been found and it was where we’d release him back into the wild.

My parents and I chatted with Karla and her husband while we waited for the owner of the property to come. She had found Little Screech and was going to be part of the release as well. When she arrived with her grandson we all made our way down the path next to the barn to the release site.

I had the pleasure of carrying the box Little Screech was in and couldn’t believe how light it was. He hadn’t made a noise the entire trip and even though he was still quiet, he was hopping around in the box, ready for freedom!

The big moment came and we all wondered if we were going to get a look at him before the release or if he was just going to shoot out of the box and be gone. Karla managed to get him out of the box and held him while we all took a good look.

He squinted his eyes and pretended we couldn’t see him. It was adorable. Soon enough it was time to let him go. Karla relaxed her grip until he felt secure enough to fly away, and when he did, boy was he gone in a heartbeat!

He flew almost silently into a bramble of trees and we never saw him again, even though we looked as we walked by. Those little guys sure know how to hide!

If you want to see a video I took of the release, head on over to my Facebook page. It’s pretty neat 🙂

Right after the release of Little Screech, Karla got a phone call about an injured eagle. Since we were still there we followed her to a remote location and picked up an extremely sick juvenile bald eagle to transport back to The Raptor Center. I honestly didn’t think it was going to make it through the night. However, it’s been almost a week and we haven’t heard that it passed away – no news is good news, right?!

It was an unexpected turn of events, and an honor to play a small role in helping these beautiful raptors live free and healthy lives. It reminds me that God made us to live in community and we’re all part of each other’s story. It’s an honor to play a part, big or small, in someone else’s story.

Has someone offered you the helping hand of kindness during a time of need? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Let’s honor them like they’ve blessed us!

And that, my friends, is how I captured The Rehabilitated Raptor. (Click to Tweet!)

Until next time,


About Author

I'm the author of "Howie's Broken Hee-Haw," a photographer, and lover of all things adventurous. I'll walk alongside you and help you discover joy for your journey and freedom in Christ!


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