As part of our work we encourage visitors to ask questions. We understand that there are many people who know absolutely nothing about birds. Though we may smile inside, we do our best to answer funny questions in a manner that will not make the asker feel stupid. In this blog I will share just a few of the question I have been asked. I am not making fun of the questioner, just sharing some experiences. I hope you find them as fun as I have. – Anne the volunteer
1) When Kateri, our golden eagle, is not on display I am sometimes asked if Isham, our red-tailed hawk, is an eagle. When Kateri is present I am sometimes asked if Isham is a baby eagle. For people who have had no experience with raptors this can easily be confusing. Those of us who know the difference understand that eagles are much larger than hawks and young eagles leave the nest the same size or even heavier than the adults.
2) One morning as I stood in the garden with our turkey vulture, Suli, a visitor came through the door and asked me, “Is that a bald eagle?” Suli’s red face was in full view so could it have been Suli’s bald head that prompted the question?
3) This question was asked as I stood near Hayabusa, our peregrine falcon, who was tied to a perch in the garden. Hayabusa has an obvious wing injury. She had probably flown into some sort of line and had severely damaged the ligament that goes from her wrist to her shoulder. I had explained her injury to this visitor and stated that Hayabusa would not be able to fly and hunt for herself. After this explanation her next question was, “If you untie her will she fly away?”
4) Keep in mind that the individual who asked the following question was a mature adult who later asked me a few intelligent questions. Fellow volunteer, Patrick, and I were walking down a hall when we came upon two men and a woman. Patrick, who was ahead of me with Suli, was asked what kind of a bird she was. Patrick told them that his bird was a turkey vulture. They then moved over to me and the lady asked, “Is that a turkey vulture too?” I had Hayabusa, our peregrine falcon. Suli is a large, 4-½ pound bird vs. Hayabusa, not quite 2 pounds. They look nothing alike.
5) One day while I had Hayabusa perched out in the garden a breeze came up. Hayabusa would at times turn toward the wind and flap her wings. A lady rushed through the door and asked, “Is that a live bird or are you pushing buttons to maker it do things?” This is the first time I’d had a visitor think that one of our birds was a mechanical display, although I have had a few people come into the garden thinking they are stuffed birds.
Ahhhh, the joys of being an educator . . .