Wednesday, July 12, 2006

hawk eggs

Hot day. We just moved our offices into a new building. It is a little hot-box. They put a shower curtain in the new bathroom and the whole upper story smells like that cheap plastic they make those things of. It smells like that Barbie doll bonfire I've always fantasized about -- and I WASN'T INVITED!

There is a bird sanctuary in town that I like to go to when I'm wholly traumatized by work. There is a red-tailed hawk there who just had an egg! She showed it to my co-worker, Boots, and I when we went over there.

"Ladyhawke," (duh, I was raised on TV) was on the ground in her habitat. She was down in the dirt on her side and she was doing something with her feet. At first we assumed she was cutting open her dinner. There were dead mice scattered all over the floors of all the aviaries.

She turned in our direction after a minute or so and we saw that she was using her talons to gently turn her egg. It was awesome! I love raptors -- as long as they aren't after my cats.

Gwen and I took her three-year old son to the sanctuary a couple of weeks ago, too. He was less impressed with Ladyhawke's egg. He was more into chasing the geese. But I picked him up to my shoulder level so that he could see the eight barred owls in their habitat (a lot got hit by cars, but some were shot. Lots of eye and wing injuries. Like Ladyhawke, who was shot, and has only one eye).

I talked to Z (said three year old) about being quiet and not scaring the birds. I wouldn't trust a lot of three year olds to be that close to the birds, but he is a very good kid. He just looked at the owl closest to him (eye level and about three feet away) and then he looked down to me and whispered, "Don't scare birdies."

There are two ravens in the back, too. They are hilarious. They have a tower of an aviary so that they can get really high in the air. They have some metal sheeting up there that they stomp around on. The keepers give them hollow dog bones full of scraps so that they can spend several hours harvesting their food.

Boots used to work for the Audubon, and she knows tons about birds. She can do a lot of bird calls, and she is really good at talking raven. She got them chatting and it was so cool. They make such a wide range of noises -- some clicking, some croaking, some cawing. Awesome!

She said that, when she worked for the Audubon, people used to call them and ask them to get "their" crows out of said so-and-so's yard because they were noisy/eating the bird seed/etc. Of course, I know that a lot of "bird-watchers" shoot at crows, ravens, and jays for the same reason.

People just frigging amaze me.

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