July 2013 -Continue
Making his first bow to a formal audience was Wee Willie the Kestrel and our two water reps, the Rouen duck (mallard impersonator), Dabbler and the Cayuga duck, Dipper. These two were quite a (wet) hit at the end. Since they are tamed domestics and not wild birds, we invited the children in the audience to come up and stroke them (they’re soft!) and get a close look at the interesting physiognomy of dabblers.
The stars of the event, of course, were Murphy and Clicky: Murphy because she is so big and spectacular, and the story of her survival of West Nile Virus and a series of strokes is so dramatic. She always gets “ooohs.” Clicky, who is little and cute, elicits the opposite end of the emotional spectrum: the “awww” chorus.
Since the theme was food, we prepared a feast (on paper). The audience found our illustrated menus featuring the favorite foods of the most common local raptors and waterbirds an amusing treat. Such fun jokes as the Road Kill Cafe (Turkey Vulture) and Butts-Up Buffet (Dabbler Ducks) helped a few hard facts to slip in quietly.
Our touchable wings and feet, feathers and bones, and HH&H’s find-the-camouflage-owls game, kept the kids busy for Show and Feel. Amazingly, not a single person under 13 failed to find the owls in even the most difficult background tangles. Some adults are probably still puzzling over whether we had played a trick on them. (And one HH&H member confesses she first found it only because a 10-year-old pointed it out to her! Guilty!)
The goal of Hawks, Honkers & Hoots, as always, is to encourage audiences to enjoy California’s fantastic wild places and denizens. To learn about them, to respect them, and to celebrate their wildness. That’s the key: to keep these magnificent creatures wild so they can enjoy their natural lives without undue interference from their featherless neighbors. Blessings on the wonderful Georgetown Library and its summer education programs. We hope to take part again.
HH&H Team at this event: Kelli Moulden, Dr. Carol Standen, Sallie Reynolds, Liz Williamson, and Heila Hubbard.