Birds everywhere, for a great cause
I'm not known for going to many fundraisers, although I did attend the SPCA Spay-ghetti feed a few weeks back.
However, since I've been volunteering for the Bird Training & Learning Center, and had donated an item for the upcoming fundraiser they were holding, I thought it might be fun to go.
Dressed in jeans and something other than a Harley tee shirt (although I was wearing an HD hoodie), I drove on down to the Egan Center and found excellent parking right across the street. I was living right that day.
|One-way ticket in ... to the Bird TLC fundraiser.|
As I entered the Egan, there was a line of people waiting to hand over their tickets and sign in for the silent and live auctions, surrendering their names and addresses for yellow paddles on a stick with a number on each. Mine was 105.
I didn't go directly inside the ballroom. There were two volunteers with education birds out in the lobby, and so I had to visit with them and see the birds, an owl and a bald eagle. Each had a tarp under it, to take care of any droppings.
The birds were very well-behaved although there were loads of people around them, looking at them, taking photos, asking questions. It's surprising how well the education birds behave mostly considering they are wild.
|The owl's feather looked so soft it almost seemed like they were fur. What a beautiful bird, but again ... the eyes ... they look through you and beyond.|
|A Peregrine Falcon was on display. I was quite excited to see this bird as I'd just seen a piece on TV about them this very day, just before going to the fundraiser.|
After a bit I wandered inside, where there were several other education birds and their handlers. One was a Peregrine Falcon. Just before leaving the house to go to the fundraiser there was a program on raptors, one of which was about Peregrine's. They can fly down to grab their prey at 260 mph, and have special openings in or near their beaks to slow the air intake to their lungs. Mostly the impact kills their prey, but if not, they have a special little hook-like “tooth” so that they can rapidly end the prey's life. It was fun to learn about some of the birds on display.
|While this isn't the best of photos, it shows the beautiful wings the Peregrine has, with an intricate light/dark design from Mother Nature.|
And of course, Kodi the “cash” crow was there, delighting anyone who came close. He will take money from your hand and put it in a jar, earning him a mealy worm, and entertaining those who watch. If one gave him $20, that person came away with a blue Bird TLC water bottle. As I looked around later, there were a lot of those bottles setting on tables. Kodi was earning his keep.
|Gimme the cash, mister.|
I met up with another Bird TLC volunteer and sat at a table with her and her family. Then it was off to look at the silent auction items. There were long tables of goods, ranging from jewelry to bird books to paintings to sculptures to cloth bags to bags of bird feed to a beaded turkey feather to a basket of bread.
|This eagle was inside the ballroom, ever watchful, but not appearing to be nervous.|
There were gift certificates in abundance as well, from restaurants to fun things to do. There was literally something for everyone … you did not need to be a bird lover to find something that would strike your fancy. It was mind-boggling how much had been donated for this fundraiser.
|The Golden Eagle also has a piercing stare. Can you tell I really like the eagles?|
|Bill is one of the volunteers I usually work with when I'm at the Bird TLC. He and his wife, Sharon, show some of the education owls.|
|Sharon is usually the lead person the day I'm at the Center. She and her husband are two of the 80-plus volunteers, many of which work multiple days each week, showing incredible dedication for the care of the birds.|
A few separate tables had other items that would be live-auctioned, including hand-carved walking sticks … one by the Bird TLC founder, Dr. James Scott, a ride along with one of APD's K9 unit, an overnight Christmas stay in a yurt in the Eagle River Valley, a falconry training session. There were some wonderful items that were quite unique. And when they were auctioned there was lively action, right down to bidding wars. It was fun to watch and see that so many good people were doing so much good for the birds.
|This eagle is in an outdoor mew at the Bird TLC. There's just something about an eagle ...|
There was one interesting fundraiser that I'd not seen before. A Powerpoint presentation showed the bird flight center out at JBER. It showed the eagles flying to get in shape for release. The flight center is in need of repairs, especially with the ravens flying in through the overhead netting to get a free meal. That made me laugh. There's a need to do pen repairs, replace the netting, water heaters for water and so much more.
The auctioneer asked who would be able to donate $1,500 toward the repairs. A few folks raised their bid cards. Then he asked who could donate $1,000, $750, $500 and so on down to $100. There were cards raised for each of these amounts. Every single dollar helps to get the job done. What a unique way to raise money, and you know that what you donated for the project would be used to make a better place for the birds being readied for release.
|Up, up and away. Even watching a magpie being released is thrilling. It's a life saved from what otherwise could be a fatality. And that's why folks volunteer and work to save the birds, from the smallest one to the large raptors.|
Throughout the evening a Powerpoint showed the volunteers working and many of the releases that have taken place. The releases show that those working to care for and rehabilitate the birds are doing good deeds … not only to the birds and the environment but for people who like to view the birds, and for some who might never see them without others doing this necessary and selfless task. Thank you to Dr. Scott, Bird TLC's Heather and Guy, and to the many volunteers who have sustained this wonderful organization for 25 years, and for the years into the future.