Sunday, October 07, 2007

The newest thing in shoe accessories

During a program today, I was holding the great horned owl and the rest of the birds were perched out. Lucy bated and sat on the ground, looking lost. She was just at the end of her tether, so I put my foot next to her so that I wouldn't step on her.
She then stepped up onto my shoe! Hmmm...this is different.

There I was, with a big owl on my left hand and a peregrine on my right foot. The crowd was watching with incredulity and smiles and waiting to see what I was going to do. I asked someone nearby to hand me my camera, and I took two pictures. Then I put the GHO back on the perch and bent down to pick up Lucy. She was desperately trying to climb up my pants.

Lucy on my shoe 1
There's an angle you don't see too often...a peregrine from the top!
Can I come up there please
"Can I come up now?"

I think if I had sat down and let her (which I wouldn't), she would have gladly
climbed all the way up to my arm. I don't ever get attached to any of the rehab birds at RAPTOR, but the program birds are another story. To handle one of these birds, it is imperative that they trust us, at least a little. And I have been training Lucy to eat from my hand for presentations, so she really has to trust me. From what I have gathered, I am on the right track.
1. She regularly preens while I am holding her. This is a major sign of trust from a bird. If they are comfortable enough to preen, that means they aren't worried about anything at the moment.
2. She has taken food from me. A bird who didn't trust you would just look at you when you offered food.

RAPTOR has Big Brown Bats living in the loft of the barn. When I picked up the birds today, I noticed a bat hanging on a vertical rafter. I'm not usually too bothered by them, but today, I was all creeped out because I could hear them twittering and I didn't know if the bat I saw was alive or dead (We have found them sometimes dead at the bottom of the stairs).
When I brought the birds back, hours later, the bat was still hanging there. I took a picture (from faaar away!) and tried to zoom in to see if it was alive. I doubt it, really:

Holy Bat, uh, Batman
Although my skin gets crawly when I see them in the barn, I repeat a mantra in my head:
"They are beneficial.
They are gentle.
They will NOT fly into my hair."


Mary said...

Dang! Lucy really loves you - well I can't save "love" but she knows you are her best friend. Very special, Susan!

I would have stood back, too. Watching bats fly at dusk is fun but I don't want to be too close.

nina said...

We walked at Mt. Airy Forest (Cincinnati Park) last weekend and I noticed oddly proportioned boxes on tall poles near the woods' edge. Upon closer inspection, what I had thought were bird houses, are bat houses--I think.

Your friends at Animal Planet said...

Just wanted to give you some info on bats. It is a new wives' tale that bats DON'T fly into your hair.

In fact, the next time you see a woman with a bouffant hair-doo, if you look closely you will probably see at least 15-20 bats nesting in her hair.

KatDoc said...

Bat Mantra #4: And, they carry rabies.

Just messin' with you! Bats are really cool, and will avoid you if at all possible. We had them living in our college dorm, and we got very comfortable with them. The incoming freshmen were always freaked out, though.

Love the photo of Lucy from above. It is as if she is a small child, looking up at you and holding out her arms, saying, "Up? Up?"

So, you had a program on Sunday. Well, then, you are excused for missing the Muskatatuck trip. We met in Lawrenceburg at 7:30am, which meant I had to be up at 5am in order to leave by 6am. You would have died.

It was really HOT! 90+ degrees in October is crazy! The birding was great, though. We had a Red-headed Woodpecker, a Lincoln's Sparrow, half a dozen warbler species, a very cooperative Green Heron, and a lot of Red-shouldered Hawk action. I missed the chance at a Life Bird, the Green-winged Teal.


Lynne said...

I hate to break it to you, but that bat looks alive and healthy! And I'm sure he's thinking that YOUR hair looks all soft and comfy!!

That's a really cool picure of Lucy. How flattering that she wanted "up".

Trixie said...

Hey, Lady, pick me up, will ya? Sheesh!

NatureWoman said...

Lucy on your sneaker is sooo cool! I'm glad you captured photos of her.
I love bats!! Bats are so cool. They just look nasty when they echolocate. I'm been wanting to put up a bat house to invite them to eat mosquitoes around here!

mon@rch said...

LOL, for sure something that you never get to see! She is a stunning bird for sure whatever angle you take her picture!

asafoetida said...

Wow, the sort of behavior you've described Lucy doing is exactly what happy parrots do.. so I bet she likes you =)

Carolyn H said...

Boy, am I jealous! A peregrine on your foot! How cool is that!

Carolyn H.

Q said...

Lucy is one very cool bird. You are very cool to have her trust.
I like the thought of bats. I like seeing them flying around in the backyrard eating bugs while I am sitting on the deck. I do not like the idea of bats in my hair! Yikes...