Sunday, April 15, 2007

Blow me (down)

Good Lord, what a weekend.
Last night, I had an indoor, informal program that lasted about 2 1/2 hours at a country club. When I do informal programs, I perch the birds and just answer questions. Well, that and crowd control. The country clubbers got more and more drunk as the evening wore on, and I had to stop I don't know how many ADULTS from trying to pet the birds.
"Um, HELLO? Birds of prey? Dangerous? Any of this mean anything to you?"
Today, it was (supposed to be) an outdoor, informal program, meaning I put the birds on perches stuck in the ground. But anyone who was in southwestern Ohio today knew just how brutal the wind was. The event was a Kite Fest, so at least it was good for the kites. Not so good with birds who are desperately clinging to perches that are swaying in the wind.
The kestrel actually flew today. I was attempting to place him on a perch taped to a table, when he flew out of my hand (thank goodness for the two-hand rule) and he soared for quite a few seconds on the end of his tether. It was cool for a second, but getting scarier by the minute.
As I was describing Lucy's injuries to a reporter, one of the booths came crashing toward us, torn from the ground by the wind.
I threw myself in front of Lucy and the booth bounced off of me, thankfully missing her.
Okay. That was close.
As I was debating whether to take the coordinator's offer of moving inside, another booth came crashing down.
Alrighty then. Inside it is.

Second booth to blow over
The second booth to come crashing down (I took this from along side my car, after getting the birds packed up to move inside) See the blue tent? The booth that bounced off me was right next to it. And Lucy had been perched about ten feet behind it.
Kites 2
I took some pictures of the kites from a safe distance after my program.
There were very cool things flying around...
Cool kites
This one is a scuba diver kite, and it looked just like a person swimming underwater.
I love informal programs, because all the birds can be viewed at once. But I also hate informal programs because there are always a few people who think they can reach out and pet one of the birds. Or the bozo who thinks that he can speak "falcon" and tries to get Lucy engaged in conversation, or can speak "owl" and hoots at the great horned owl. Now, the owl couldn't give a damn about a fool hooting at her, but Lucy really isn't into that. She panics and bates. Like she did today. I had the screech owl on my glove when Lucy decided to try and fly out a window. The tether was short, since we had limited space and she ended up dangling from the perch. Not good. So I had to quickly put the screech down, tie her up and then get over to Lucy and get her upright again. Jeepers.

Can someone explain something to me?
When an "expert" is giving a presentation (and I use expert loosely when talking about ME), why do some folks think that they know way more than the person speaking? I would never do that. Would you?
  • I had a woman who kept telling everyone that the kestrel thought I was his "Mommy", because he kept bating and landing on my sleeve as I stood next to him.
  • She tried to tell everyone that a peregrine falcon was nesting in her back yard.
(After questioning her to make sure that she wasn't living on top of the PNC bank building downtown, or at the power plant on the Ohio river, I decided that she had a red-tailed hawk in her yard. Cool, but definitely NOT a peregrine.)
  • She warned anyone within earshot (and that was EVERYONE) that great horned owls LOVE to eat kittens. *Disclaimer: Yes, owls have been known to carry off pets. But only if they are starving to death and this is their last chance. Owls would like to eat anything BUT cats.
  • She was quite the bird expert, that one. I talked twice as much as usual, politely correcting the information that she was giving out. I tried to ignore her after she smacked her daughter on the head for getting too close to one of the birds. Please forgive me for falling prey to stereotyping but...when a woman wears a men's flannel coat, has misplaced some of her teeth, and sports a mullet, she might not be the sharpest tool in the shed. Or maybe she was just having an off day. She could have been a nuclear physicist. But I doubt it.
  • She confided in me, (quietly, thank God) that she had found a nestling of some kind and tried to feed it and it died. I just as quietly told her that she should have called us or any other rehab specialist to care for the bird. And I also quietly told her that it is illegal to keep any bird of prey without a permit to do so, and that if she ever finds another bird of any kind, to please call a rehabilitation center. She left after that.
I love to talk to the public. I think I was born to be a public speaker. But it's not easy.
Though as Tom Hanks said in A League of Their Own, "It's supposed to be hard. Otherwise everyone would do it."
I'm tired. But I will try to stay awake long enough to visit other blogs and see what every one has been up to.


Trixie said...

Missing teeth, mullet, flannel, all on a gal....hmmmm.....That is some serious high fashion!

Boy, I wonder what the wind was blowing. I looks eventful!

mon@rch said...

Sounds like you had a fun weekend! Only kidding! Glad the birds were alright, would have loved to see the video with you holding the kestrel! Doing my naturalist duties, I always get people telling me things! I always say thank you and then move on to a different subject! Not sure why they do it but they do! Not easy is right but if you keep on doing it, my guess is you are doing it well! Keep it up, we need more people like yourself!

LauraHinNJ said...

I think you handled her well, Susan! There's one in every crowd, right?

LostRoses said...

Susan, they can't help themselves, most likely no one listens to them at home so you get to bear the brunt of it! I'd say you handled it very well and what an adventurous day you had. Glad you got home unscathed.

Mary said...

Oh, gosh, Susan. I think your story is hilarious (the description of the people...) and the wind sure did make a circus out of your presentations. I had great mental pictures. It's a shame to have drunken fools and ladies with missing teeth trying to overshadow you. But at the same time, I know you can handle them. LOL!

By the way, you quoted a line from one of my all-time favorite movies. I've watched it about 100 times.

Jayne said...

Oh my Susan, what a day. I can't even begin to imagine people trying to touch and pet birds of prey. And, you'd think that they'd appreciate your knowledge offered and not try and be the bird experts they are not! Amazing, there are those who profess to know something about just everything...not! You have a patience of Job girl.

Mary said...

Susan, I can't post a comment on your Monday post. There's no "post a comment" to click on.

Lynne said...

HEY SUSAN!!!! I can't post a comment on Monday either!! And you know I have something very deep and profound to say...