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Sunday Salon: Falcons and Trails and Puppy Dog Tails

November 6, 2011

The Sunday Salon.com

What a weekend! We had quite a rocking time at our favorite local retreat, this past Saturday and Sunday. Callaway Gardens, just south of Atlanta, is a lovely little resort with gardens, butterflies, lakes and, of course, raptors. Our older son is currently into theropods (not to be confused with the way less interesting sauropods) which, scientists think are linked to today’s birds, especially raptors. This meant that the park’s thrice daily raptor show/discussion was an absolute must.

We already like raptors (because, gosh, they’re just so cool) from past trips to the gardens but this time, our journey was infinitely cooler. See, during the red-tailed hawk’s flight demonstration, my husband and I ended up acting as the landing site for the bird’s lunch. Woops! Yup, dead rat, right on our shoulders. Blech! While it’s a little gross, it also wasn’t that gross. All in the name of science, right?

Well, it gets cooler.

What??

Cooler than dead rats?

Oh, for sure.

The poor falconer was so embarrassed that he invited us into the bird lab and compound. Most of the ornithologists at Callaway are graduates of Auburn’s Southeastern Raptor Center. We haven’t been but we’re planing a trip, soon. Needless to say, the staff are amazing and very knowledgeable about their charges as well as conservation. The facility was just awarded care of a bald eagle which has to be sanctioned by the government for any rehabilitation. Very cool. Hopefully the bird will be ready for public education by New Years. Among the guests at the bird house, currently, are a great horned owl, a barred owl, a peregrine falcon and a bearded dragon. Yes, the last one is correct. That little guy (who was very cool and spiky) is part of their educational “food chain” display. Don’t worry; he’s just an example. He’s not on death row.

Oh, right, and a lot of dead rats.

Over all, such a fantastic weekend. In the spirit of keeping things animal oriented, I’m posted a few non-bird, yet still fauna-based things, this week. I have The Good Good Pig and The Puppy That Came for Christmas going up, soon, as well as the non-animal read Chosen.

I highly doubt that, even with fun books, this week will be able to top such a fantastic weekend but, hey, I’m an eternal optimist!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 7, 2011 3:14 pm

    Hey, if a dead rat gets you extra cool attention, I’m all for it. It sounds like you had an amazing weekend!

  2. November 7, 2011 3:27 pm

    What a cool experience! This is a place and exhibit that my daughter would love to visit, and even though some unexpected things happened, it seems like you guys had a great time out there. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  3. November 7, 2011 9:21 pm

    That’s an unusual way to get a behind-the-scenes tour! Sounds like a great family outing … despite the dead rats!

  4. November 7, 2011 9:25 pm

    We used to live in Auburn so we’ve been to Callaway Gardens quite a few times. Thankfully we were never hit with a dead rat – I think it would have traumatized me for life!

  5. November 8, 2011 2:44 am

    Wow! What an awesome day! Though that rat might have grossed me out a bit. When I was a kid I lived in SD and Reptile Gardens (by Mt. Rushmore) had a raptor show and it was a lot of fun! They seemed to have gotten rid of it now though 😦 I still like to go to Reptile Gardens when we go out to visit though cause they still have a gator show and a snake show (and probably some others I’m not thinking of) as well as being able to walk around and see animals. My daughter loves those kinds of things!

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