Monday, January 11, 2010

Fun With Birds and Protection Issues

Last week I took my kids on a spur of the moment trip to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota. The kids didn’t know where we were going, only that we were going somewhere that we could be inside since the air temps continued to dip below zero.

We arrived at the Center and almost immediately the kids started complaining and asking to go somewhere else. Here I thought this would be a cool thing for them to see FIVE EAGLES up close without any cages or glass between them, but noooooo, they wanted to do something. Okay, I can admit the birds didn’t do a lot but just stand there and look at us, (and what else would they do?) but I had hopes that it would get better.

We’d arrived shortly before a presentation would begin, at the end of which a handler would bring in an eagle, weigh her and feed her. The kids were not convinced this would be a good thing and I was skeptical that D would sit through what might be a 45-minute presentation, but we all perservered and I think M and K really were interested in the facts the volunteer was sharing with us.

We learned what eagles eat, we saw photos of the protective covering that eagles can cover their eyes with, we heard what had happened to the five eagles at the center and why they couldn’t be returned to the wild. We saw and touched reproductions of an eagle’s skull and eggs.

Then it was time for the handler to bring in the eagle.

Now, you’d think that the volunteers would be comfortable with the eagles, especially if they’d been volunteering for a number of years, nonetheless, when the handler entered the room with Harriette the eagle the volunteer gentleman let loose an unmistakable squeak that was anything but gentlemanly. Considering the other end of the front row was completely devoid of specatators, I would have considered the other end of the room a more fart-friendly zone, but to each his own. The handler heard the mishap as well and we exchanged glances and kudos to both of us for keeping a straight face. Perhaps the older gentleman’s gas is actually an eagle repellant and he was, in effect, protecting me and my children. Chivalry is not dead.

It was hard to top the demonstration of feeding the eagle but M and K stood next to the eagle so I could take a photo, then we looked at a few exhibits demonstrating how much (or how little) eagles weigh and how much force their talons can put on an object. D started to get tired and my fun meter was about full so we headed home.

Naturally, as soon as we got to the car and got everyone buckled in K announced he had to pee so we made it approximately 2 blocks before we had to stop at a gas station and get everyone back out of the car.

The rest of the ride home was blissfully uneventful. Thank goodness.

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A Vapid Blonde said...

Funny, I didn't get that the squeak was a fart. I thought it was more like a!

Anonymous said...

fun day for them- Amma

Madeline said...

Ha! That's a mighty gorgeous eagle.

mayberry said...

When you posted this photo before, somehow I didn't get that it was a REAL LIVE eagle! cool.

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

I thought you were going to say on the ride home, you heard another ungentlemanly squeak. ;) Cool outing!

chelle said...

ugh don't you hate getting them all in only to discover you have to get them all back out again?!?! arg!

Sounds like a wicked fun day.

Tim said...

We have been members of the National Eagle Center for about five years. It is an incredible experience to see these magnificent birds up close and see their grace, beauty and fierceness. It is no wonder they have graced our countries identity for years.

 
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