What a weekend

I had a weekend full of RAPTOR. Saturday morning, a bunch of us volunteers pitched in to help clean the house at the RAPTOR center. The house used to be a park ranger’s station way back in the day, and now it is rented out to tenants who have the responsibility of feeding the birds every day. Well, the most recent tenants were, shall we say, less than clean? Or maybe I should say, had an aversion to cleaning? Or maybe I should say downright dirty slobs??? I saw it after it was halfway clean and I was still grossed out. The people who saw it immediately after the renters moved out said that it looked like in the two years that they lived there, the renters NEVER CLEANED ANYTHING. Case in point: The carpet made clouds when walked over…there were piles of dead bugs upstairs…It took Andi 2 hours to clean the bathroom…It took me 3 hours to clean the kitchen…The ceiling in the bedroom was falling down and had to be completely ripped out…Had enough? One more: there were mouse droppings in the KITCHEN DRAWERS.
Eww.
Okay, on to brighter things.
Last night, I released a screech owl (see previous post)
Today, I got to be “Vanna White” with some birds at a program. Dave, the current education director did the talking and I held the birds. Oh, and on a related note: Earl is no longer my favorite. Dave asked which bird I wanted to load into the car first, and of course I said “Earl!”. When I went in to get her, she was okay, but as I grabbed the jesses, she started attacking my hands (I had gloves on, but she freaked me out regardless). I got her back on a perch and Dave retrieved her. I went on to the kestrel (easy) and the Great Horned Owl (Sylvester, also easy…who comes up with the names for these birds?)
The program today was at Bass Pro Shops. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a store full of stuff for hunting, fishing, hiking, outdoorsy things. A great store, if you’re into those things.
RAPTOR has a nifty new sign for presentations. If you look closely, you can see some folks who have become my favorite people. 🙂

Bass Pro is full of interesting objects, like stuffed and mounted deer, quail, fish and this eerie stuffed possum…
…which is hanging directly above these stuffed, headless children. Fun store.

RAPTOR release

I got the privilege of releasing a screech owl that had been rehabilitated at RAPTOR, Inc.
I just had to take Isabelle with me, because how often does a kid get to see this?
The owl was very interested in Isabelle.

We didn’t get any photos of him flying away, because the little bugger got away from me. If that had been a program bird, that would have been tragic, but of course this was a release, and he was more than ready to go.
He cooperated quite well, once he got away from us. He sat in a nearby tree and watched us watch him.
Thanks to RAPTOR, Inc, another bird of prey is out in the world where he belongs.
Live long and prosper, little guy!

Bug walking and a vulture speck

My good friend Kim invited the girls and myself to an “Insect Jamboree” at Woodland Mound Park today. The rain was a downer, but the kids still had fun. They each got a cup with a beetle in it to observe, a nice lady read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, we went on a scavenger hunt in the Nature Center, they got to drink “bug juice” and we stepped outside for a 5-minute bug hunt. Nice, and okay for $3, but I think that the girls could have learned more just by walking out our back door and turning over some rocks.
The kids also got to do a craft, thankfully with no glue. If you will let me brag about my kid for a minute: Isabelle could have been the Bug Lady for this little program…she has every insect in her field guide memorized. And to recap: She’s FOUR.
(Yes, Lorelei’s name is spelled wrong on her nametag…is she destined to always have to spell her name for people?)
Aidan with his fancy butterfly
Maura didn’t make a craft…her job is to sit and be cute. A job she does well.
Okay, my token bird picture for the day: See the speck to the right of the lightpole? That’s a turkey vulture. In my defense, I was driving at 65 mph in heavy rush hour traffic. I really need to do some serious birding…and I need a scope. (See Bill of the Birds’ post about his trip to Africa) I could be getting great pics like that.

“These shoes are made for birding, and that’s just what they’ll do…”

No matter how much I love Keen shoes, I can’t justify paying close to $100 for any shoe.
So when I found these knock-offs at Payless for $20, I did a little dance.
They’re comfortable, don’t hurt my heel, have tread…I love ’em.
***I would, of course, accept any Keen’s that were a gift***

Rats, guppies and yuppies

I haven’t been able to get any great photos of birds lately. No field trips or serendipitous meetings in the yard. So we have rats, guppies and yuppies.
The rat twins, Laverne and Shirley, love to hang out (literally) on the top perch with Penny.

The fish tank was so empty looking, we went and got some guppies. 2 males and 3 more females. Maybe we can finally get some babies.

This car was in front of me as we zipped along Montgomery Rd. (For those outside the Cincinnati area, Montgomery is one of the uppity places to live)

I couldn’t believe this license plate on this car. If it had been on a Pinto, it would have been funny and I would have appreciated the humor of it. But “AWFUL” on a Lexus?

“Oh, yeah, dude. It sucks to be you.”

For those of you who DON’T read Geoff’s blog…

…you don’t know what you are missing! That man cracks me up!

What I am reading now

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

I am not blog-savvy enough to do a nice little sidebar for this like Laura has. I started reading this today, and for awhile I forgot about the kids…it’s that good.