Oh Nooooo, They Be Stealin' My Kettle!

Due to my insane travel schedule in May and my training as a part time park ranger, I had to take a leave from my volunteer duties at The Raptor Center. Yesterday was my first day back.

Hey, remember Peregrine Falcon 568? The young peregrine falcon that flew into the banding nets with a broken leg? And then had some experimental surgery? Well, she is alive and well. All the little robotic pieces that were on her leg are off, she's standing and has recently been moved to a flight room with three other peregrines. The above photo is old, I was hoping to get a photo of her in the flight room, but the lights were too low. Good news. From here the clinic will monitor how she stands and perches and make sure that she doesn't have any more bumblefoot issues. If that goes well, it's on to flight training...

Some other changes had happened while I was away. The education department has been training in some new birds like the broad-winged hawk (pictured above) and a red-tailed hawk. When the birds get to the final stages of their training, the staff chooses a name for the birds. The birds really don't know their names or respond to it, but it's a way for us to tell birds apart and say, "Hey, I'm working with Bubo today instead of GHO 14."

The broad-winged hawk was given the name Kettle and the new red-tail is now called Alula--both names made me chuckle. The alula is a part of a bird's wing that is the equivalent of our thumb (it's also called "the bastard wing"). It has a few quills and some species can actually manipulate it a bit.

I love our new ed director at TRC, she's very into "teachable moments" and I would rather have an ed bird's name be an opening for conversation, like Alula rather than, say, Ralph. But I did get the giggles thinking about me being captured by aliens and being an ed human for their planet. Interpretive aliens would hold me in front of their students asking, "What species is this? Human? That's right! And her name is Uvula! That's an unusual name isn't it? Well, it's also a part of her body! Does anyone know what a uvula is on a human?"

The broad-winged hawks name also sent me into a fit of giggles: Kettle. The name refers to a "kettle of hawks" the flock of hawks that you see circling in a thermal during migration. That flock is called a kettle because a thousand broad-winged hawks circling in a thermal resembles peas swirling in a boiling kettle. I once heard someone get their words mixed up and pointed to a bunch of hawks and said, "Hey, Sharon, there's a bucket of hawks!"

So, bucket, kettle, I don't know they just make me giggle...perhaps it's because of the walrus bucket thing...and if you are one of the four people who have not seen the photo and captions:

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Perhaps the source of my giggles comes from too much I Can Has Cheezburger:

To which I answer to the hawk, "No, you no has a kettle, you are named Kettle."

Wow, this blog entry just took a weird turn. I think I should get back to packing for the Potholes and Prairie Bird Festival in North Dakota.