Saturday was the day for the first annual Queen City Birding Festival. This event was geared more toward kids, but there were plenty of old timers there, too.
Speaking of old timers, let me tell you a story:
I had the birds perched out for this program, with a table, chairs and the carriers blocking the public from getting too close to the birds. The red screech owl was perched on the table, as far from "petting" hands as possible. I have a sign that I printed up telling folks how to enjoy our birds; Don't yell, don't touch, ask lots of questions, feel free to take pictures, etc.
Well, this 203-year-old man came over and was getting a bit too close to the SO (the SO is a nervous bird anyway, and he was starting to show signs of stress). I stepped up to block the man from getting any closer. The old geezer was standing right in front of my instruction sign, and decided the SO needed shade (it was sunny, but the bird was fine) and he started to place a piece of paper over the screech owl. I gently put my hand on the man's hand and said, "Please don't do that." The old fart turned and said nastily, "I don't LIKE that." And I said, "Well, I don't either. My birds, my rules." And off he went, grumbling and geezering. I didn't see him again.
I mean, HELLO? Wild birds of prey? The person in charge of protecting said wild birds of prey, telling you not to do something? THAT gives you the right to be a &%$@?
The best part of the festival...this guy:
This is David Russell. He teaches ornithology at Miami University. He bands. He's fun. He's a walking encyclopedia of bird knowledge. He made me wanna go to school and get a degree in ornithology.
I saw him first at the OOS Owl Symposium last year, but didn't get to officially meet him until this Saturday. What a hoot.
Aside from bird walks, me with the raptors, etc, there was also a banding demo.
"Even at this angle, you still look like an ***hole."
This next photo is bad if you want to look at the birds (an orchard oriole), but it's the people I want you to look at:
The woman wasn't nearly as disgusted as she looks. She was just a random person helping with the data entry. Her son, to the left, looks like he's about to puke or sneeze.
Female Eastern Towhee. Subtle colors, but still that evil red eye....
...and a perky little brood patch.
Male orchard oriole...just drink that in. The rich, dried-blood color and the glossy black. The two-tone bill of black and silver. *shivers*
And as usual, Sylvester disapproves. Of everything and everyone.