Explore + Capture: Carolina Raptor Center Huntersville, NC

Located inside the sprawling Latta Plantation lies the Carolina Raptor Center. For the past 40 years, the non-profit organization has sought to both rehabilitate raptors and provide educational opportunities to the community. According to carolinaraptorcenter.org, the center treats around 1k birds a year and returns approximately 70% to their natural habitat!

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The winding, unpaved trail is dotted with wooden birds and educational stations.

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As we stride together from cage to cage, Matt reads to me the names and stories of each bird.

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This little bird is Swainson’s hawk and a long-term resident of the Carolina Raptor Center.

Swainson's Hawk WEB-1

His plaque’s inscription informs us that he arrived to the center very young. He immediately imprinted on his attendants and is now domesticated.

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(Shoutout to my smart husband who suggested I photograph each bird’s informational sign before moving on!)

Pishimatakoa (“rainbow”), King Vulture

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I found the task of shooting through chain-linked enclosures, focusing manually all the while, to be a welcome challenge.

Crested Caracara

Crested Caracara WEB-2

Minna the Merlin

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Barred Owl

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Bald Eagle

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My favorite bird of all is the Eurasian Eagle Owl. I was delighted to find that the Carolina Raptor Center currently has one!

Kahn, Eurasian Eagle Owl

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How cute is he? I could have enjoyed his company all day.


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I used my Canon 40D, alternating between my 24mm lens and my 70-200 mm lens, to capture these photographs.

– Elizabeth A.

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To learn more, visit www.carolinaraptorcenter.org.

*not sponsored*



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