Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Big Birds, Bird Brains, and Dinosaurian Wiliness

Someone invited birds of prey, in addition to alpacas, to the miserably wet town festival thingy. Here is a large, miserably wet bird.

He is a peregrine falcon. He is wearing striped pajamas. I want to call him a jailbird, but it's such a bad joke I'm going to resist. I came in toward the end of the falcon talk so all I know is that the males of this species are smaller than the females. This led the bird man to make the assumption that the females were giving the orders, which he seemed to think would make all the women in the crowd overwhelmed with delight. I know I personally felt that this one avian species having larger females than males definitely makes up for the thousands of years that males of my own species used their muscle mass as a tool of repression. The bird man was a bird brain if you ask me.

But the falcon was pretty.

Bird brain also had a bald eagle with him.

Nothing he said about the bald eagle offended me. This particular bald eagle has a broken wing, that's why one looks funny. He is apparently one of few bald eagles in the northeast who can be safely brought within close range of the public; the others are all scary and unpredictable. I don't know, this one may be as cool as the Fonz, but he's still a fifteen-pound bird of prey with a giant beak and giant claws. I used the zoom to take these pictures. I don't even like being near pigeons.

Giant beak

Giant claws which I have Photoshopped so you can clearly see all the dragonlike knobbly bits

Bird brain says birds should be reclassified as dinosaurs. I'm in favor! They have very wily eyes. On the other hand, this picture looks to me like a man in a convincing bird costume, so clearly I should have no say in this matter.

Bird brain also called my attention to the fact that outdoor cats kill one billion songbirds and small rodents each year. I decline to provide an illustration for this fun fact.

I don't know much else about bald eagles because in spite of the fact that he was holding one, bird brain did not talk about them much. He mentioned that "bald" means white, not hairless, although the impression of baldness is hard to deny. Then he talked about how bird feathers are essentially scales (as in dinosaur scales). And how the claws produce some kind of waterproof secretion. And then he put them out on their little stands, and a magician came on stage, and made a rather poor bird joke, worse than mine, even. At which point I went back to the alpaca.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures!

I wonder if a bald eagle knows that it looks fierce, even when it is, presumably, relaxed and calm? Although, I suppose it could be that it was noticing mice (or funnel cakes) off in the distance and was thinking to itself "If it wasn't for this stupid rope around my leg, I could have lunch!"
Has anyone ever seen a bald eagle with any different expression?

I first learned about Peregrine falcons from a Hardy Boys mystery (from whom I also learned that you could get hit over the head 15 or 20 times over the course of just one book and never suffer any consequences - perhaps they are OK as an ornithological reference, but not a medical reference).