Thanks! I experimented with handholding Bertha (200 f/2) so that I would not have to worry much about the background, but I found that there were limitations to that, including the fairly long focusing distance of the lens. Sometimes I had to stand further back than I really wanted to do. Also, there was the issue of having the aperture set very wide open -- while it did a great job of eliminating distractions in the background, also didn't allow for the entire subject to be in sharp, crisp focus, which when shooting feathered birds isn't ideal. Oh, well.....
Yes, I think they're a bit soft due to both factors: narrow DOF and camera shake. I'm not used to handholding that lens (I think she weighs around 6 pounds)! Even though I had the shutter speed set pretty high that still doesn't always help. Next time I shoot raptors in that kind of situation I'll be using either a different lens or that lens with the tripod or monopod! LOL!
Thanks, Stephanie! Actually, I do have more but just have not gotten back to processing them yet! While the other people were shooting one of the owls, I wandered over to the eagles' quarters, admired them and spent a little time with them in our own private shooting session!
Thanks, Frits! I really do wish that I'd not shot with Bertha (200 f/2) wide open, and that I'd gone ahead and used the tripod, which I did have with me. Those were big birds (except for the one cute little owl) and the f/2 was just not too good for feather detail and such, even though it did a great job of blitzing out the background.