Saturday, July 15, 2006

Scarlet, Isis and Earl

Sounds like a list of cartoon characters, doesn't it?
Please excuse my sweat. It was 93 today,
and I am not built for hot weather. My ancestors were icy Germans.

Bird pictures, as promised:
(Photos by Marc Alverson...thanks, Marc!)

Scarlet, red-tailed hawk. See her chunky red tail? Hence the name Red-tailed Hawk.

Isis

as you may recognize from previous posts. Quite possibly the prettiest bird I have seen. And the heaviest I have held, I think. Three pounds, which is a lot when you have to hold it away from your body. Jeez, look at that sweat. I don't "glisten" like other women do.

I sweat like a man.


Scarlet

I was a bit nervous about holding her, since I had heard stories of her being ornery but she was fairly easy to hold. (But still a heavy bird)

(FYI: In case you're wondering, my T shirt says "I have a black belt in Crazy") Amen.

Earl

I have to say it...Earl's my favorite. She (yes, Earl is a GIRL) is a Turkey Vulture, about 20+ years old, and she lives at RAPTOR because she has imprinted on humans. I have never been this close to a vulture before, and they really are neat birds. And she barfed on me. That's not why she's my favorite ( I mean really, what would that say about me?) but what makes her stand above the rest is that she is inquisitive, impressive - look at that wing span!- not as ready-to-kick-your-butt as the other birds, and just cool.

But there's not much worse than vulture vomit. Their diet of very ripe dead animals is bad enough, but when it's been partially digested and regurgitated, it's unholy foulness.

Show me love, Earl!


7 comments:

MojoMan said...

God, vultures are ugly! But on the other hand, I'm always happy to see them return, because when I do, I know spring is coming.

Susan Gets Native said...

Mojoman:
Oh, come on! She's cute! Look at that face!

LauraHinNJ said...

Was gonna warn you about vulture vomit, but figured you already knew! What other defense do they have when frightened!

A lady I work with loves vultures, thinks of them as her totem birds.

What sort of training are you doing, aside from getting comfortable holding the birds?

Looks like a lot of fun.

Susan Gets Native said...

Laura:
Aside from bird-handling, I will also be following the current education director around to programs he is doing, and when I'm "signed off" on the birds, I will then hold the birds while he talks, and THEN when I'm comfortable, I will start talking too. Then he will let me take over. Whew....
I have no idea how long all this will take, but the director is starting a "real" job in the fall, so I assume I will be on my own by then.

LauraHinNJ said...

Sort of like learning to walk and chew gum at the same time?

;-)

Lynne said...

Susan-
Earl is just AWSOME!!! Their faces remind me of very old men. I think the eyes are quite expressive too. Are their eyes bigger than other raptors or do they just appear that way to me? Anyway, thanks for the vulture photos- sooo cool!

The Anonymous Vulture said...

This is almost too much to handle. Not since I first heard Johnny Cash's song "A Girl Named Sue" have I been as traumatized by a name as when I learned that "Earl is a Girl!!"

Then just as my medication was kicking in and I thought I was recovering from viewing your blog, someone from Minnesota implies that I look like a vulture!!

Besides I'm barely middle-aged. You bet!