A Marcia Brady Kind Of Day

Even Cinnamon is shocked at the amount of disapproval needed for this entry. Will she be able to deliver? I started by asking if Cinnamon would play Jan to my Marcia, and true to form she is not being very sympathetic to my day. All she has to say is, "It's always Birdchick, Birdchick, Birdchick!"

It started with my nose (not quite as painful as a football, but nearly as embarrassing). This week at The Raptor Center they are having a bird care and management workshop for people who have zoos and nature centers and are interested in having live birds for display and education. This morning, as part of my shift at The Raptor Center, I had to work the greeting station in case anyone came in late or if someone walked in for a tour. I saw several people I hadn't seen for awhile like Gail Buhl who runs Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center and Deanne Endrizzi from US Fish and Wildlife. They didn't even know about my job change so it was good to touch base with them. I also had the opportunity to meet people from other facilities around the country. At one point, someone had mentioned I had a smudge on my nose and I thought I wiped it off. Then at the end of my shift, I went to the restroom and noticed that a rather large brown smudge surrounded the tip of my nose from my coffee travel mug. I looked like a total brown noser. So much for dignity.

Continuing on with my Marcia Brady day, I discovered that I am double booked in February. And like Marcia, I am so mortified, I could just die (I'm throwing my head into a pillow right now)! So, I'm in the process of getting it worked out. I think I can negotiate my way through this one with the help of Non Birding Bill, but I may have to watch KISS Meets The Phantom of the Park with him (what I do for love). It will get worked out, but I can't believe I did this, I am such a dork sometimes.

When I get stressed like this, I realize I need to spend some quality time with birds, pronto--preferably wild, but will settle for captives. The nearest birds at the moment were in TRC's education courtyard. I don't talk to them or anything weird like that, I just like being around birds and watching their behaviors. A couple of the great horned owls were dozing out there, but as soon as there is movement, they make look asleep, but they are watching you. If you look at the photo of this owl sleeping next to the screening of its mew, at first glance it looks like both eyes are closed. Take a close look at the left eye, it's open just a tiny bit. This is how wild owls keep an eye on what is going on during the day. Keeping their eyes closed helps cloak them while they are hiding. Sometimes, when people get close to owls that look like they are sleeping, they assume that the bird is not stressed. The bird is very aware of what is going on and can internalize stress without showing it. This particular great horned owl is imprinted on humans and is fairly tolerant. We have one great horned in the courtyard that was found injured as an adult along the side of a road in Indiana and is not imprinted on humans at all. Her mew is covered with mosquito netting and you can't see her through it from the outside, but she can see you from the inside. It's hilarious to walk by her mew because, all of a sudden you hear, "hiss...hiss,hiss...clack, clack, clack...hiss...clack, clack" as she hisses and clacks her bill at you in warning.

The imprint great horned owls were very hooty again today. I tried last time to get a photo of some of them hooting but the owls weren't very cooperative. Today, I did have some success of getting a great horned in midhoot. Check out the posture they assume to get that sound out: it fluffs out it's gular (patch of white feathers that are puffed out right above the chest), lean forward, raise up the tail like a wren and doing it all on one foot. How cool is that? And some people think birds are boring? Just look at what this owl is going through to get its song out. I'd like to see Tom Jones put forth this much effort.