Tuesday, May 20, 2014

North by Northeast

World Bird Sanctuary is 1,207 miles from Stone Zoo.  Every year we have to drive that far because we have our awesome bird show there during the summer.

WBS Director Jeff Meshach loading the truck for the long haul (photo: Mike Cerutti)

For the past 3 years I have driven this with Jeff Meshach, our director.  It is a long drive that takes us over twenty hours to complete.  This year it took us 22 hours and nine minutes, our fastest time yet.  We drive straight through, only stopping for food and gasoline.  We take turns driving to make sure that whoever is driving is awake and alert.

This sounds like a long and rough drive, but it’s actually a lot of fun.  It’s a time I get to talk to my boss about everything non-work related.  During the winter I try to keep small talk with Jeff to a minimum, just so we have more to talk about during that drive.  We get to discuss movies, sports, music and just about any little thing that crosses our minds.
We saw a Rough-legged Hawk like our beautiful Bella (above) (photo: Gay Schroer)

We also get to see a lot of different bird species during this trip.  We see countless birds, but I pay close attention to the raptors that we see.  There are always Red-tailed Hawks, Turkey Vultures and Bald Eagles.  However, this year we got to see a Rough-legged Hawk fly over the highway right in front of us!  At first glance we thought it was just another Red-tailed Hawk, but after seeing its dark bellyband we were sure it was a Rough-legged Hawk.  It was the first time I have ever seen one in the wild, so that was special for me.
In Indiana we spotted an American Kestrel like our own Detour (above) (photo: Gay Schroer)

I was keeping an eye out for American Kestrels all the way into Indiana before we actually saw one.  There were also a few Red-shouldered Hawks, which happen to be one of my favorite hawk species, and my favorite native to Missouri.
We also saw Red-shouldered Hawks like our own Flip (above) (photo: Gay Schroer)

My favorite state to drive through on this trip has to be PA.  It has smooth highways and fantastic views as you drive through the Appalachian Mountains.  As you come over the top of a mountain and see the beautiful view into a valley, it almost takes your breath away.  But as beautiful as it is, it can be terrifying.  This year a deer decided to meander onto the highway, and stopping a truck full of birds hauling a car on a trailer isn’t a simple task.

This year Jeff and I were both hoping to see a Black Bear while on the long haul, but no dice.  I’ve only ever seen a Black Bear once in the wild in my life, and they will always be my favorite animal in the world.
We pulled into Stone Zoo in the early morning hours (photo: Mike Cerutti)

Near the end of our journey we always have energy drinks to make sure we “hit our second wind”.  As we are coming East on I-90 we watch the sun rise over Boston in the distance, a pretty cool sight.  Finally, as we pull into the zoo, I feel a sense of accomplishment.  I also start to feel a little nervous, for while I’m happy to be back doing zoo shows, this will be my first year supervising one.  But that’s a story for another blog.

So, if you’re in the Boston area this summer be sure to take a day to see the Stone Zoo, and in particular the Birds of Prey Show presented by the World Bird Sanctuary.

Submitted by Mike Cerutti, World Bird Sanctuary Stone Zoo Show

1 comment:

Mom Cerutti said...

Always glad to hear of a safe and happy trip. Have a great summer and may the birds behave.