Sunday, April 27, 2008

59: 365 - Nature Centre

K.. You know the old adage that goes "If you can't say anything nice..." ? Well, we went to the John Janzen Nature Center. The birds they had on display were all injured in some way and would die in nature; instead of having them euthanized, it was decided to care for them and allow people to see them up close.

Philippe: I actually got lucky with this shot since I'd forgotten the camera on a setting of F:20, so *all* my other shots were blurry :(.

Philippe: This guy had the camera with proper settings, so I was able to get a wack of absolutely crystal-clear shots. The down side is that with my slower lens, I had to F:4 the shots, so the base of the bird is somewhat blurred.

Anna: Today, we decided to take in a local nature centre, as I'd heard good things about it. Even taking into account that the trails would be in poor condition because of the weather we've been having, it was a real disappointment. Somehow, I just expected to see... well... more than a bunch trees with signs (This is a spruce tree. They grow slowly...) and one squirrel. The ravine and parks beside our apartment are a lot better. :-/ It wasn't until we'd finished the short trail (no attempt to take the long one in current conditions) that we saw birds, and they'd been brought in by the local zoo for today's events, all of which were aimed at indoctrinating really, really young kids ... but that's a whole 'nother story, and a huge pet peeve of mine.

This is Mariah, a peregrine falcon. She's been with the zoo for 16 years. It's believed that she'd injured herself by running into a power line during her first migration. She can fly, but only for very short distances before she's completely exhausted. Today was her first trip out for one of these events this year, so she was a bit skittish. Especially when some kid's animal balloon suddenly popped! *L* Poor thing just about jumped out of her feathers.

This is Meg, a kestrel. I'm really happy with how this picture turned out - enough that I just cropped it, but didn't reduce the size like I usually do. It's still hard to see, but it you look at the picture full size, you can sort of see her damaged foot. You can see it better in Philippe's picture, above. She was found injured and brought to the zoo. The damage was permanent, and she's unable to fend for herself. She's about half the size a kestrel would normally be, due to malnutrition before she was found and cared for. They chose not to kill her off, but kept her for their education program. Her handler mentioned that a lot of people object to this. Apparently, this bird would be better off dead than being "used" by humans.

Meg in particular seemed just as curious about the people gathered around as we were about her. :-D She was constantly bobbing her head around, looking at everyone with intense interest while her handler told us about her and answered questions. All the more reason I'm glad I managed to get this picture.

Besides some good pictures of the two birds, we left with a few freebies. We didn't get a chance to look through everything until we got home. They passed out cloth bags with some glossy pamphlets, bookmarks, fridge magnets and removable tattoos in them, most promoting 2008 as the Year of the Frog, but also reminding people to leave baby animals alone, because they're not really abandoned.
The bag was some sort of unbleached cloth - possibly cotton, but I'm not sure - with a design screen printed on one side. Inside, I found a label that read "Made in India" on one side and "do not wash" on the other.

I found that remarkably funny, for some reason.

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