Saturday, September 27, 2008

A great weekend to be Outdoors

What a great day.

A day spent teaching the public about birds of prey and their importance...meeting new faces, grilling out, baked beans and chips.

The first part of the day was a four-hour informal program with some of our birds perched out in front of the CNC. Storm, Sylvester, Isis and Lucy.

A word (or many) about Isis:
A few months ago, I found it more and more difficult to use Isis for programs. Her original injury (a gunshot to her right wing...what kind of idiot would shoot a hawk like her????) had become so calloused, every time she hit it against something in her mew, it would bleed. And she was breaking blood feathers constantly.
Being a nearly pure-white bird, it was rather obvious that she was a mess. I went to our board and our bird care director and asked them to do something. She went to one of our vets, who agreed that more of the wing needed to be removed.
A small portion of the remaining bone was removed, leaving a flap of skin. The flap was sewn over the wound and needed only four stitches. She healed up very nicely (and is even growing feathers back where there were none) and today was her grand re-opening to the public. She does very well perched out for programs, but today she was even better than I thought.
Isis and GHOW CNC
(that's the GHOW way in the back, doing his "I am a totem pole" thing)

I do love that owl...
GHOW macro
Such a polite bird (except at sunset when he's more active, and in the months of December and January, when hormones get the best of him)

A very, very cool find:
In front of the red barn, we were all chatting and had no idea a small amount of possible death was crawling around our feet. Craig, a young volunteer, shouted, "There's a black widow!"

Yep, it was:
Black widow

Someone handed me a stick so I could turn her over to get a shot of that red hourglass...then I realized that I was hold an effing black widow spider and someone needed to rescue me.
I tried very hard not to cuss.
Black widow 2
She was gently and respectfully carried to the woods' edge and deposited.

Let's meet Ethan:
Ethan and Isis
This darling 6 year's the history of RAPTOR and him:
Last year at the Great Outdoor Weekend, I met Ethan and his mom, Liz. This kid had a very healthy interest in birds of prey, and birds in general. I had a great time talking with him and marveling at his knowledge.
A few months later, I got a call from his mom for an educational program at Ethan's birthday party.
Thanks to that program, I got in the Cincinnati Enquirer, the article saying that this was the "new" way to throw a kid's birthday. I got quite a few programs out of that.
And today, he and his mom were at the member's picnic. Turns out that Ethan is a member of RAPTOR now. The youngest member, to be exact.

I had to photograph him with some of our birds.
Ethan and GHOW

During a nature walk earlier in the day, he found some feathers...he showed me where he had thrown them back into the woods (because he remembered what I had said about them being protected and that possessing them was a crime). My God. Someone is actually listening to my programs?
He said there were many, many "downy" feathers, so something had tackled something.
Ethan and feathers
The one on the left is a great horned owl feather, and at first, I thought the other one was a red-shouldered hawk. I did some research and found that this was a turkey feather. Looks like a GHOW tackled a turkey. Awesome.

I disapprove of your use of fire
"I disapprove of your use of fire. And what the Hell is a S'more?"

I was putting Isis back in her carrier as the picnic ended, and realized I didn't have a picture of Isis and me.
Cindy, our Bird Care Director, was good enough to oblige:
Isis and me 3
Good bird. Glad you are feeling better.

The whole day was so fun. I got to meet old RAPTOR members, revel in some new ones, and Isis, our Flagship Bird, is feeling great. Life is good.


The Swami said...

Are you sure that was an hour glass on the spider and not a Phoenician sundial?

Just checking.

NatureWoman said...

LOL Swami!!
Glad to read you had a great day, Susan!! Glad Isis is doing good.
It must feel so good to inspire a child, how wonderful!

Julie Zickefoose said...

Isis is gorrrgeous.

I have a smallish male (I think) black widow(er) spider in a cup on the kitchen counter--found him dying on the cover of our lawnchair, eeeeek! That one you got is a dandy--what a specimen. Not something one is particularly happy to find, however.
I had a similar moment when I found mine--saw that it was dying, picked it up by the leg, showed it to the kids, carried it into the house and had a Homer Simpson moment--D'oh! I'm holding a black widow spider BY THE LEG! What is wrong with me??

LauraHinNJ said...

I love that pic of you with Isis!

(Susan in her element.)

I don't think we have black widows in NJ - at least I hope not. Cool spider, anyway.

Nice story about that little boy - sort of makes it all worth it, no?


dguzman said...

You're so my hero. There would've been "gently and respectfully" about it were I involved--it would've been more like "launch projectile!" and then run.