Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Birding 50! Part 2

Saturday I left home at 0630 to drive to Eden Prairie to meet a birding group going to Duluth led by Birdchick and Stan Tekiela. The weather forecast predicted rain, but we had plenty of enthusiasm so we hit the road! Our first stop was a private hawk banding station run by Frank Taylor, a friend of Sharon's. Frank gave us a tour of his blind and a wonderful explanation of their operation banding hawks. Frank is extremely knowledgeable and articulate and his excitement about sharing his passion for raptors was contagious.
When we pulled up there was a knot of people near the cars and we quickly got out to see that they had caught an injured Peregrine Falcon in their nets. Since we were headed back to the Cities later in the day, Sharon and Stan volunteered to take the peregrine back with us to the Raptor Center fro evaluation and treatment. Check out Birdchick's post to read the awesome information about this bird.

Here's the view from inside the blind. It is set up on the edge of a large hay field. I was lucky to be inside when a sharpie flew into the nets. They had caught and banded two sharpies before we arrived. It was a terrific learning experience to be able to see these birds up close and have them described in such detail.

Here Sharon is holding the adult male for closer inspection. She let us all have a sniff of the sharpie. I thought it smelled like warm, brown grass- clean and outdoorsy.


Then Sharon did the sweetest thing- she handed the sharpie to ME! I couldn't have asked for a better gift. Thank you, thank you Sharon!

Now, people who know me know that when I'm really happy my eyes disappear behind little slits. You can barely make out my pupils in this picture that Sharon took.
( does Photoshop have a tool to remove double chins?)

I was thrilled! They have a lottery to choose visitors to release the banded birds. Don't those ladies look excited? Frank is giving them directions to count to five and then gently let them go while Sharon is lying on the cold, wet ground to photograph the release from the best angle.

The day isn't over yet...



10 comments:

Eries Argonaut said...

Wow! What a great experience! You do look extremely happy holding that bird. The bird is looking up at you and probably wishing you a Happy Birthday, too.

Lynne said...

eries argonaut- I think the hawk looks more like "if looks could kill...)

dguzman said...

Wow, I want to smell and hold a hawk! Great story!

Larry said...

Sounds like a great experience!
Hope you didn't have so much joy that you needed new glasses!-I'll try to find the article over at Birdchick now.

RuthieJ said...

Wow Lynne, that looks like so much fun. I always think those Sharpies look so big when they fly through my yard, but to actually see someone holding them, they're not much bigger than a bluejay. Good for you! I can't wait to hear more of your story.

Trixie said...

What a great birthday! What a fabulous smile. I am so glad you had that experience. To smell a wild bird. Who would have thought?

Mary said...

Linne, you look like a child holding first prize! I love that photo of you. I'd be so thrilled and excited to have that experience. You need to frame that beautiful photo.

Deb said...

I can just imagine what a wet wild hawk would smell like. Wildness.

Looking forward to Saturday, although I am woefully unprepared! I have not been studying my gulls!

LauraHinNJ said...

Lucky you - Lynne!

Jayne said...

WOW! How cool Lynne!! What a wonderful birthday gift.