World Bird Sanctuary

Place:  World Bird Sanctuary

Date:   October 2015

So we’re driving home from Shaw Nature Reserve (see last week’s post Close Ups From a Distance) and I have that Nikkor 80-400mm telephoto zoom burning a hole in my pocket, so to speak, since I didn’t get to put it to the use intended for it.  About halfway between the reserve and our house in Lone Elk Park, a St. Louis County park.  It doesn’t have a lone elk, it has an elk herd and bison.  What better way to put the lens to use than photographing these magnificent wild animals at a safe distance.

As we are driving up the narrow, two lane black top road to the entrance to the park we saw a number of cars parked off in the ditches on both sides of the road and a number of cars coming for the direction of the park entrance.  Usually you don’t see any cars on this section of road except for maybe one or two.  I couldn’t figure out what could be going on at Lone Elk Park that would cause this kind of traffic.  As we got closer I saw the congestion wasn’t for Lone Elk.  On the right side of the road just before the Lone Elk entrance is the entrance to the World Bird Sanctuary.  I have been hear three or four times before but have never encountered more than a few cars or a dozen people including the small staff.  (The staff is all normal size, just small in number.)  Turns out this day was open house.

The place was packed with cars and people and as we drove around in the large circle surrounding an island of a couple of buildings and fenced in areas for birds and a few other animals I was worrying I wouldn’t find a space to park and would have to go out and park about a quarter mile down the road like the ones we saw coming in.  Just as we got to about eight parking spaces from where we would have to exit I found what appeared to be a spot.  I’m not sure it was a true parking space but my car fit, I wasn’t blocking anything, and there were no “NO” signs so we lucked out.

Now the trick was to make our way through the crowd and see if I could get any good angles for shots of the birds.  Fortunately the sanctuary is spread out.  In addition to the large island of buildings and pens surrounded by the gravel road, there is a wide mulch train that goes back about 50 yards or so with pens and cages on either side for the birds.  This set up meant that despite the large number of people, we were not on top of each other and there was plenty of room to photograph with out have a bunch of strangers in the pictures.

These are all captive birds that were once in the wild.  Some of them will be released after rehab others won’t because their injuries were such that they wouldn’t be able to make it in the wild again.  These become educational birds used to reach and promote the birds and the work of the bird sanctuary.  Some will go to other institutions as educational birds.

In the photos below if I know the bird I’ll caption it otherwise; no caption.  (Exception:  I didn’t caption the American bald eagles assuming everyone would recognize them.)  I’m not positive that all that all my identifications of red-shoulder hawks are correct.  Any corrections or additional identifications would be appreciated.



Long-Crested Eagle



Red-Shouldered Hawk



Barn Owl


Red-Shouldered Hawk







Goldean Eagle


Snow Owl


Andean Condor





Golden Eagle




European Barn Owl


Red-Shouldered Hawk


Red-Shouldered Hawk


Thank you for stopping by.


All photos taken with a Nikon D7100 and a Nikkor 80-400mm telephoto zoom lens.

Oh yeah, I never got to Lone Elk Park to photograph the elk and bison.


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