Monday, October 1, 2012

9/30 Flagstaff Arboretum

One advantage of traveling slow is that you tend to do things you would not bother with if you were on a tight schedule.  The Flagstaff Arboretum looked interesting, but it turned out to be three miles down a very rough dirt road, and I was a bit unsure if it was worth the dusty drive.  I had missed the first tour, so I wandered around and sat in my vehicle for a while, taking the opportunity to go online and check cell phone messages.  I did enjoy the second tour of the day, although I think the arboretum might be better in spring or early summer since a lot of the flowers were dried up or frost-damaged.  

The best part of the visit was the wildlife presentation, given by a high school senior, Aaron, who has volunteered his time at a Phoenix bird rehabilitation center.  He was extremely knowledgeable and did an excellent job with his presentation.  Here are the birds he brought with him who for various reasons cannot be released into the wild:
I can’t remember the Great Horned Owl’s name, but she was confiscated by the Fish and Wildlife Department when they were told she had been used as bait for training other birds of prey.  Her wings look good, but pieces of them had been bitten off and she cannot fly well, plus while she was recovering, she because imprinted too well on humans. 

“Sparks” is a Peregrine Falcon who touched two power lines at the same time as a juvenile bird because he did not know how wide his wings were.  One wing had to be amputated halfway down, but he has lived that was in captivity for 7 years.  While Aaron was presenting the last bird, Sparks spent considerable time trying unsuccessfully to untie the thongs on his legs.

“Nascar” is a female American Kestrel who was given that name because she is blind in one eye and tends to fly in left circles.  They think she must have flown into something to have damaged her eye.  Kestrels are the smallest American birds of prey, and she really is beautiful close up.  She kept her eye on the other two birds who in the wild might hunt her.

I ended up spending almost four hours at the Arboretum.  Very nice day.  Stopped by Home Depot on my way back to mu campsite to get some odds and ends.
Hope this young man gets some terrific letters of recommendation to go along with his college applications.  He spoke for over an hour on these birds he had brought along with him!  I'd give him an A for content AND presentation skills!!

1 comment:

  1. Always great to hear about a teenager doing something so worthwhile and doing a great job at it. He may be a future ranger.