Living Where the Action Is

As I’ve mentioned before, I currently live in staff housing at the outdoor education center where I work, specifically in a building that doubles as a raptor rehabilitation center.  Surrounding the building are cages housing our permanent residents (avian residents, that is – the human residents have bedrooms inside), and this area is open to the public, which keeps life pretty interesting.

The inside of the building is off-limits to the public, but that doesn’t mean much to some people.  Earlier this week I heard someone knocking on the front door and it turned out to be a man who was visiting and had some questions.

MAN: Are there more birds in the back cages?  Can I go see them?
ME: No, that’s where our rehab birds are, the ones that are going to be released back into the wild.  (Incidentally, that area is roped off and has a “staff only” sign.)
MAN: Oh, really?  Do you ever let people adopt them, like, as pets?  It would be real cool to have a hawk or something.
ME: Um… no.

A pet hawk??  I wish I were making this conversation up, but it really happened.  I think it even topped the woman who wanted to know how she could get some eagle feathers to use in some New Age ritual.  (Answer: unless you’re a registered member of an American Indian tribe, you can’t, and even then there’s a waiting list.)

Then yesterday I came back after breakfast to find a cardboard box sitting on the porch.  I eyed it for a minute, thinking, I really hope there’s not a baby owl or something in there that someone decided to drop off anonymously.  Then I thought, nah, no one would ever do a thing like that; this box probably belongs to one of my housemates, and I should leave it alone.  Big mistake!  The box actually turned out to contain an injured woodpecker, apparently deposited there by someone who’s a bit fuzzy on the definition of “raptor.”  I can’t fault whoever it was, really, because they were trying to help an injured animal, but it was still strange.  Like one of those stories where someone leaves a baby on the steps of the church.  Or the beginning of Harry Potter.  If Harry Potter were a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

To sum up, living here is never dull.

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