Bunny Saturday/Owl Sunday

This weekend was a whirlwind--that trashed our whole apartment. Somehow we just got swept up with play rehearsals, auditions, bunny photography and owling. I need to tackle the apartment, which I will do right after KARE 11 today. It's so bad, it almost seems easier to just move to a new apartment.

Non Birding Bill and I headed to Petco in Maplewood, Minnesota Saturday to photograph Serena, a white rabbit up for adoption through the Minnesota Companion Rabbit Society. I have to say that Serena is a natural when it comes to disapproval:

"I don't approve of paparazzi."

She's only seven months old and is already spayed. She wasn't as energetic as Buster, but she is a natural when it comes to disapproving. I've never been attracted to white rabbits, I always gravitated to marked ones, but this girl really has some personality.

Sunday was the owl class. I had the power point ready, but not the right chord to connect to the projector. That's okay, people really want to see live owls and we have a bunch to show. I had three TRC staff members handling birds for me--I felt like such a VIP. I think the birds were grateful, I'm such a hand talker, it can freak them out.

I also had so much fun incorporating the Voices of North American Owls CD into the program. I downloaded just the owls found in Minnesota onto the my iPod and found I had over an hour and a half of owl calls--I could have just let that play the whole time. That CD really is the most complete compilation of North American owl calls. Who knew they made so many different noises? I like to be able to play some of the weirder calls great horned owls make. I think a lot of people hear the squeaks and barks but don't realize they are owls making those calls.

I had some friends in the crowd including the Colosky family and frequent commenter HellZiggy. We decided to make a go for the snowy owl that has been seen at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport. I got the car pool there, but the snowy wasn't at the usual spot.

I brought all of my favorite owl books to the class and HellZiggy (left) and her friend Michelle helped me carry them out of The Raptor Center after the class. Since they were in a separate vehicle from me, the said they would give me back my books at the airport. Then the tables turned. The refused to hand over the books until I delivered an owl sighting--tough crowd!

Fortunately, Angie Colosky saved the day. We were at the worst possible angle, but WAAAAAAAAY out in the distance she noticed a lump sitting on a structure. When I got it in my binos, I could see the bird silhouette--it was a snowy and one of the worst looks at one. So, the crew bravely followed as I drove us around the airport to try and get a better look.

We found a spot that put the sun behind us and if you had binoculars, you could get a pretty good look at a snowy owl. Above is Ed and Angie. If you look between them, you can see a red and white structure. The snowy owl is sitting on top of it. I tried to digiscope through the binos:

See the light and dark lump on the right at the top of the structure--that's the owl. Thanks so much Angie for making such a great spot of the bird! I never would have gotten my owl books back!

After our group dispersed I decided to go back to the spot birders were gathering to see the snowy, they wouldn't see this one as well from there. I led the first group to the owl, went back and picked up three more vehicles of people. One of the guys was looking in the direction of the snowy and I said, "Hey, I got a better look at it." He looked skeptical and said he tried to get closer but got shooed away by security. I promised I was taking him to a better spot for viewing. When we got there I asked the guy what he thought.

"Did it move?" he asked.

"No, this is where it's been for at least the last twenty minutes." I said.

"I was looking at a different owl. It was sitting on the #3 sign."

I drove back to the spot I found him and sure enough, right on #3 was the snowy--two snowy owls at the airport. Now I wonder if I totally missed that one earlier with the group or if it had just popped up on the sign? While contemplating this, another car full of people arrived. I walked to their window and said, "Looking for the snowy?"

They looked at me warily. "The what?"

"The snowy owl, it's right here." I pointed in the direction of the owl.

"We just came to watch the planes." they said. "But we'll look at your owl too."

I handed them my binos and they got a kick out of it. They were surprised to learn that birders were swarming the airport to look for owls, but thought it neat that something from the arctic flew down for the winter to take advantage of the ample food supply.

Now, off to the tv station. Must avoid the internet the afternoon to take back the apartment. We'll see how long that lasts.