NY Birds with Outpost #4

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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.

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Maid Marian. Screech Owl

The Kestrel Falcon is Mr. Piffles, and there’s a Mrs. Piffles back home. He’s one of the summer birds.

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Mr. Piffles. Kestrel Falcon.

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Mr. Piffles. Kestrel Falcon. Showing off. He did this for me several times so I could get a good picture.

Pygmalion, or Piggie is a Broadwing Hawk. He’s also a summer bird.

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Pygmalion or Piggie. Broadwing Hawk.

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.

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Shakespeare. Barn Owl.

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.

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Annabelle. Prairie Falcon.

Visit their Facebook or Website to learn more about what they do and how you can help them.

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My Top 5 Moments of The Walking Dead

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I thought I would share my top 5s over the course of the next few weeks. Choosing a top five of anything can be very subjective, Whatever five I pick, I’m leaving out ten more things that I really loved, not o mention that anyone reading this will have their own five moments that they think are the top.

This Sunday marks the AMC Marathon of Season 6 of The Walking Dead which leads us into the Season 7 Preview Show with Chris Hardwick and whoever else he has planned to tease us with information and non-information. I had already noticed that in the season 7 trailer, we don’t see hide nor hair or any characters that were in Negan’s lineup to meet Lucille.

There are so many more moments that I could have included, but these five popped into my head first. It was funny that three of the five were from season 5. I know many people felt hat season 5 was their best season so I guess I kind of feel that way, although each season has a special place in my heart.

And let’s be honest, I could probably write a Top 5 Moments for each character!

As they continue on with season 7 and beyond, we’ll see how they continue to fare.

[Note: Each moment is labeled with the Season. Episode #. Episode Title. There are spoilers included for other episodes and for all six seasons.
SPOILERS]

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Gishwhes 2016 Wrap-Up

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On the most recent Saturday, Gishwhes 2016 came to an end. I think this might have been the best year yet. The items were a nice balance of good deeds, insane impossibilities, creativity, and small doses of public humiliation.

This year we squirted milk out of our noses, sold bottles of air, helped the homeless, raised money for FOUR Syrian refugee families (two was the original goal), tweeted Mike Pence the dangers of smoking, tweeted Lin-Manuel Miranda other historical raps, and sent postcards to William Shatner, who had the last laugh by giving out Misha Collins’ address. Well played, Bill.

The whole family got involved whether they wanted to or not. And they liked it.

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An Addition to Gishwhes by the Numbers

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A very important number that I left out of yesterday’s post was the amount of money I spent.

To start, our team does not put a budget on any item or ask anyone to spend any money. It is assumed, I think, that if you claim an item you will get it done to the best of your ability, whether you spend money or not.

Also, as far as I know, no one on my team used that it was a charity scavenger hunt to get free supplies donated. I personally am not sure where I stand on that; it’s a grey area. For me I don’t do it but that isn’t a judgment on anyone who does as long as it’s within reason and positive representation of the team and the group.

That said, this year we had very little money. My family wants to take a weekend away before school opens up again in the fall, so we’re watching all of our pennies, piggy banks, and bottle deposits.

The most I spent on any one item was $10.12 for item #114 – the team photo. Being in New York, I had decided on a soft pretzel with mustard at the Erie Canal, and the extra pretzels were to bribe my two kids to come and take the pictures. They also got a free trip to the playground behind the Erie Canal stone marker.

Including that, I spent a total of $17.76:

$1.23 for item #102 – putting positive messages on people’s cars in the guise of a parking ticket. (envelopes)

$1.05 for item #39 – using magazines, create a vision board. (glue sticks that we will also use for school supplies)

$,36 – for item #90 – Superheroes doing mundane chores. (red floss for Superman’s heat vision)

$5 – for item #29 – the printing of the bottle labels to sell air in public.

I scavenged coupons, post-it notes, empty and dried water bottles, posterboard, cardboard panel, Flash costume, Superman cape, index cards, Sharpie markers, orphaned socks from my vast collection as well as using my Twitter, my WordPress, and of course, my ever willing family.

At the end of the week, I bagged up all of my leftovers to save for next year.

The hunt isn’t just about winning, although winning would be nice. It’s about teamwork, camaraderie, using what resources we have, reusing items we’re saving or getting ready to throw away, supporting some worthy charities, bringing important information to people who wouldn’t normally see it (like stroke signs and the Syrian refugee crisis, and potable drinking water even in our own country), plus thinking outside the box and trying new things.

Fun and service don’t have to cost a lot of money to make a difference.

Take today and be extraordinary!

Gishwhes By the Numbers and Charity Links

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Gishwhes for 2016 has ended, and it’s taken me these two days to recover-ish. I’ve got 99% of my leftovers in a bag for next year or for supplying the kids for craft projects that they come up with for the rest of the summer and into the new school year.

Second year in a row that we’ve had a phenomenal team. We had eight returning teammates and of the new seven members, we had only one MIA.

We’re named Brave Little Ants, which is a Supernatural reference. We’ve managed to find a boatload of motivational ant graphics, highlighting their strength and teamwork.

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