Thursday, August 1, 2013

Eat, Screech, Prey

We've been at the cottage for almost two weeks straight now - our longest stretch ever. We spent the first week working remotely from the cottage, and although we had our usual worries and workload that comes with our jobs, somehow waking to the glaring sunshine that floods the cottage in early morn, and the sounds of the forest put an idyllic trim to it all.

The second week was the official start to our vacation which of course was ushered in by cooler than normal temperatures (where the heck did I file my longjohns?), grey overcast skies, and a healthy share of rainfall. Of course neither of us brought enough warm clothes to wear so we're starting to become one with the forest... or at least smell like it!

Last year Hubby's mom gave him an "experiential" birthday gift (well, for both of us actually) -- a visit to a falconry to learn more about our feathered friends with whom we share our cottage grounds. So today we took our adventure to the Muskoka Birds of Prey, just an hour and a bit from our cottage. The minute we pulled into the place, we were greeted by a flock? of turkeys, a couple of red hens and the chanting and screeching of a chorus of birds. Birds abounded! Cages of various varieties of quail,  better known as "dinner" to this crowd, lined the property, and out back behind the house was a veritable village of aviaries and various shelters and perches full of birds.

As our instructor Laurie explained, "it's a lifestyle". She and her partner hatch and raise birds of prey - which means that at some point or another, they share their home with them. Baby eagle owls wander around her house with hawks - she calls them "imprints" - to get them used to humans, and to protect them until they are old enough to be moved to an aviary.

Hubby was in his glory, outfitted with his leather glove carrying the falcon around, sending it to its perch and then coaxing it back again with a dearly deceased baby chick laid out on his glove. We learned alot and had a unique opportunity to interact with owls, falcons and hawks, as well as see an interesting lifestyle up close and personal. I thought I would share a few pictures from our day -- although they aren't the greatest. I took them discreetly with my point and shoot as I didn't want the instructor to think I was merely out for a photo op and not focused on the experience . So enjoy, and excuse me while I clear a few feathers from my throat...

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