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Monday, April 07, 2008

Bird Therapy

Keeli is TERRIFIED of birds. She won't go outside in the morning until I've chased away the "mean" robins in the tree in the front yard and then the finches who have a nest near the back door.

We tried to overcome this fear a bit recently visiting a local showing by the WSU Raptor Club & Rehabilitation Program. The program started with several smaller birds, a Sharp-Shinned Hawk and this tiny Saw-Whet Owl named Cuare.
Keeli thought the little birds were okay, at least from a distance. She was very concerned that they were squeezing the handlers' hands or could bite someone or could fly at her or...

Then, we were treated to some really big birds close up and personal. This is Toby, a Great Horned Owl. Keeli was pushing back against me very firmly to get as far away from these birds as possible and still be on my lap. This is Charlie, a Red Tailed Hawk and the oldest member of the Raptor Club. Keeli isn't yet convinced yet that birds are good creatures, but she isn't as afraid to go outside in the morning where the finches are. This morning she told them to be quiet or she would get them a cage! At least I know she paid attention to part of the show.

This program is directed by Dr. Erik Stauber (a very fascinating man to talk with, BTW) and run by veterinarian students. The students rehabilitate injured birds and employ them for public education sessions. These aren't the only birds at the center. Each of the birds has a story about how it came to be in the program and how they represent their species.


Angela said...

Hey there. Have you looked at my blog lately...hinthint. I like Keeli's concept of cages for mean birds...our version of jail for mean people.

The Tin House said...

Kate, I have a 10 year old nephew in Flagstaff AZ whose lifelong ambition (since he was old enough to talk) is to be a raptor keeper in a rehabilitation zoo/area. I've tagged this post for him to read! Shame about your daughter's thing with birds. These little people are just so very complicated! Lisa x

Noelle said...

So funny that Keeli is so afraid of birds yet doesn't mind your hens? Maybe because they don't fly...? Bravo for her for being so close to those raptors!

If you get a chance to go to a raptor release, please do it. We've been to a release of rehabilitated birds by the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center (at a nature center near our house), and it was truly inspiring. You're right -- every bird has a story. Not all of them can go back to the wild, unfortunately for them, but we're grateful for the ones who educate us humans, aren't we?

Check out the U of MN Raptor Center at http://www.raptor.cvm.umn.edu/

Lori said...

Very cool event for Miss Keeli. I love Erik Stauber! He is such an amazing, smart, talented man and so dedicated to his animals. I remember several times various raptors being rehabilitated in his living room. Every time we would find an injured owl on the farm, he would come over and retrieve it.