On Friday, I met a bird lady at a local event here in the Capital District. Actually, while she only brought birds for her demonstration, her husband describes their work as from mice to moose. And to be fair and less flip, she wasn’t a bird lady, she is a wildlife rehabilitation specialist.
Linda, and her husband take in almost any and all animals that need rehabilitation services. Their aim is to get whichever animals can, get back into the wild.
While my kids played at the Carnival going on, I spent my time with Linda learning about the birds and other animals that they care for.
I was fascinated by the birds.
They’re all predators, and in the wild, or at the rehab center, do not hang out together. Their being well fed keeps them from looking for food among each other at the demo. At home, they’re kept in separate cages, like birds together, etc. Of the five birds I met, all but one are New York State natives. Two of the birds are only here in the summer, so when the cold weather comes along, they’re moved indoors until the warm weather returns.
Only native birds are released locally.
I could get pretty close and take photos, even with a flash, but was warned not to go behind them. They don’t like that.
I was surprised at how much training and licensing goes into running a rehabilitation center and taking care of the animals. There’s state licensing and for the birds you also need federal. After taking coursework, there’s a test that must be passed. To teach and have the demos like the one I attended, you need additional training and licensing, even for a former teacher like Linda.
I called the smallest a grumpy cat owl. Look at his face, and you’ll see what I mean. She’s a Screech Owl named Maid Marian.
The Kestrel Falcon is Mr. Piffles, and there’s a Mrs. Piffles back home. He’s one of the summer birds.
Pygmalion, or Piggie is a Broadwing Hawk. He’s also a summer bird.
Shakespeare the Barn Owl was the most regal, the most uncaring, keep looking but don’t touch me aristocratic looking when he wasn’t turning his head regally or falling asleep.
Last but not least, we have the oldest of the group, twenty-year old Annabelle. She’s a Prairie Falcon from the desert. She was a breeder in Texas. When she passes, she has a home in a museum in western New York.