Saturday, July 25, 2015

Summer Fun: A Day for Birds of Prey

A barred owl (coincidentally, I believe
I spotted one on our drive out there)
Between morning kung fu and ice skating and an afternoon birthday party, also at the ice skating rink,  we headed to a special Birds of Prey festival sponsored by local wildlife rehabilitators, A Place Called Hope.  It was on the green of an old town, complete with meetinghouse, 1821 Academy, and 18th-century houses.  But we were most interested in the festival.  There were other animal charities--Audubon, Humane Society, a raccoon rescue group (I picked up a great crocheted raccoon scarf, like those old fox wraps!)--and lots of the usual kinds of crafts (something unusual--I picked up two make-your-own-tie-dyed-kite kits for the kids), plus a taco truck where we got a delicious lunch.

An Eastern Screech Owl, looking like tree bark
But the real draw were the birds.  The Eastern Screech, which I'd never seen in person, is so small.  And so was the American Kestrel, not pictured here, which they included in the presentation--tiny, for a falcon (apparently those tear-drop shadings by the eye are typical of falcons.)  I forget that owls can be that small--like the Saw Whet we saw in Block Island.  We also saw a Red-Tailed Hawk, which we often see near the river and even overhead.  It all brought back great memories of falconry lessons in England, various nature centers with rescued birds, and numerous Birds of Prey shows at Ren Faires and such.  Mama even inquired about becoming a wildlife rehabilitator (well, I inquired with her standing there.)  You take a class, pass a test, and then intern with a charity.  I hope she'd consider it--she'd love the birds (but probably not talking to the people so much!)

And our very common Red-Tailed Hawk
After the kids got ice cream treats, I headed to explore the Academy, which was open for visitors.  It had been an old school and is now an exhibition space of the local historical society.  The current show is about summer recreation and the tourist crowd that came to the CT shore before the hurricane of 1938.  There were some oppressive wool bathing suits and lovely white cotton dresses, since it was the thing to wear white for the summer (but not before Memorial Day or after Labor Day!) as proof that you were able to afford leisure time.  Even several straw hats and a discussion of the Straw Hat Day--men took off their felt bowlers on May 15 and wore straw until September 15, after which youths would snatch and stomp on any remaining straw hats.  There was even a Straw Hat riot when some unruly youths started snatching hats a few days before September 15 one year!  Who knew?

It was a short but sweet visit.  We'll keep our eye out for other interesting fairs and festivals in the area (including the hot air balloon one in August!)



No comments:

Post a Comment