Hutton the saw-whet owl really looks unreal - lyosha said that a lot of times people look at/past him and think he's a stuffed bird - I understand why!
After spending some more time at Jungle Cat World, we headed to the other side of Toronto to Mountsberg to visit the raptor centre there - and the awesome Amy (lyosha) who had invited us to meet the avian residents she manages.
If I had to pick one favorite bird at the centre it would be Tedd - this disabled barred owl (I am quite partial to barred owls...). Her story, like many of the birds is quite sad - due to major head trauma she has brain damage and a blind/destroyed eye. It is what makes her so placid and 'pettable' - raptors as a group are (in general) not birds to form the sort of bond with a keeper as say a parrot would - they are not 'cuddly' birds and internalize stress massively. Teddy tolerates people because of brain damage - not because she loves/is bonded to them. I know with most of my LJ here I'm preaching to the choir but I didn't want to make this look like a glamourous 'pet owl' Harry Potter experience. These are birds damaged due to human impact (car accidents, hunting, imprinting, etc.) and being given a permanent place to live out their lives and become educational ambassadors at the park.
Great horned owls are so gorgeous!
One of the resident bald eagles.
Fish beak! Pagwa, a juvenile female bald eagle.
It was so much fun to watch Amy and Pagwa together. :)
Amy was awesome at getting the barred owl to hoot back at her - she make a really convincing mimic of the call. That's something I need to practice at, I need to learn more bird sounds.
Look at that face!! I have so much love for barred owls.
mbala managed to capture the translucency of the feathers on this barn owl. Their white feathers are so ghostly when they're in the right lighting.
Behind the scenes - Bernice is handling Otis and I've got Hutton.
Oh, ok. ;)
I found Mountsberg Raptor Centre to be a wonderfully run place - I was very impressed. Major thanks to Amy for the memorable, thoroughly enjoyable trip!
(You can learn more about Mountberg and the birds at their Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/mountsbergraptorcentre )
After that, Bernice kindly hosted us at her place and showed us around her home (she has one of the most amazing collections of art and figures I've ever seen!) and we were sad to have to say goodbye so soon. I wish Toronto was closer and am definitely looking forward to going back to visit again (and hopefully spend more time!).
I've finally been updating my travel blog so I'll post catch-up pictures here in the next few weeks - I realized I never shared any of my photos of Europe/CZ or Fire Valley or a host of other neat places we've been over the years. :)
Now, off to Aikido! (ninjafox out)