Sunday, December 21, 2014

Year 3: 365 Photo Project - November

November is a good time to look back and be thankful for what we have.  I chose to look at some old photos for inspiration for this blog.  I kept coming back to a small collection of photos I have of me with some of the many World Bird Sanctuary birds and animals I have worked with over the last 14 years. 

I realized while looking over these photos that I have been so lucky in some of the great experiences, amazing animals and wonderful people it has been my honor to know over the years.

The first photo I am going to share is from the summer of 2000.  That summer I worked at WBS’s Milwaukee County Zoo Bird of Prey show.  This is the group photo with staff and birds.  On the left is Assistant Supervisor Heather with Panda the African Pied Crow, then Sara Pitzer with Solstice the Harris’ Hawk, a zoo staff member (sorry I can’t remember her name) with Bogart the Eurasian Eagle Owl, Supervisor Jeff Kingscott with Fred the Hooded Vulture, and then me with Buchannon, the Golden Eagle.  The cool thing is that I still work with a few of these birds on a regular basis.

The next photo was taken in 2001 in Milwaukee again, but with Care For Critters, an outreach education program WBS presented in Milwaukee, and I supervised for about 4 years.  This photo is of Mischief the White-necked Raven, and I.  Mischief is a special raven to me because I raised him from a youngster.  That relationship I made with him when he was young still exists.  This look in this photo is one I still see with him on a regular basis.  Mischief will be a big part of my next blog.

This next photo was from 2001 as well.  This is Mali, a Fennec Fox, and me.  In 2001, I spent much of the summer raising young animals including two young fennec foxes.  This is one of my favorite photos of Mali and me.  When Mali was a baby she would go to work with us and then come home at night for lots of socializing.  This was such a great time.  Mali would run around and then come over and just want to snuggle like a kitten or puppy.  We used her in programs for a year then she and Egypt, the other Fennec Fox, moved on to the WBS Nature Center and then to another organization.

The last photo was taken about 5 years ago of me working with Scar one of our two Straw-colored Fruit Bats.  I fell in love with bats when I saw a lecture by Marlin Tuttle in Milwaukee about bats. When I learned about all of the connections between them and the environment, a passion was discovered.  Then in 2006 World Bird Sanctuary received two bats to use in education programs.  I started training them and have since used them in some programs.  This passion for bats led to creating the WBS special event called Baturday, which then became the Midwest Bat Fest.  Look for more information about this event that takes place in early April.

When you are around these animals all the time and work with so many different animals, there are times when you can start to take what you do for granted.  However, it is moments like this while looking at old photos that you remember all of the amazing things you have been so privileged to do over time.

Submitted by Cathy Spahn, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist

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