Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Birds of Prey

Each year, our seventh grade students are treated to a wonderful assembly: we have a falconer who comes to school, with several of his birds of prey (a great horned owl, a ferruginous hawk, and a falcon), and puts on a demonstration. I've always heard that it was a really amazing assembly, but in the thirteen years I've worked here, I've never attended. Well today, I decided to go to the assembly.

All I can say is: WOW!!

Talon (no kidding!), the man who performs this assembly, has a whole routine for the assembly. He dresses as a Scotsman - accent and all - and talks to the kids about what exactly 'Birds of Prey' means - what types of birds they are, what they prey on, how their trained - it's really quite interesting.

...then, he does a demonstration.

He asks for 10 volunteers from the audience - all students, of course. Then he asks for two staff volunteers. Well of course, one of our teachers volunteered me since I was a 'newbie'. All volunteers assemble on the stage forming two lines facing each other. A hawk's wingspan is three feet, so we're asked to stand 4 feet apart. Once in position, he has the hawk fly down the center! It was AMAZING! Then ... one side takes a step closer. Once again, the hawk flies down the center. We were actually brushed by the hawk's wings as it flew through! Now I ask you, how cool is THAT? Once again, one side takes a step closer. Of course everyone thinks that the hawk can't possibly fly through now, but it certainly looks as if they're going to direct him to do so. We were all a bit breathless waiting to see what would happen. He lets the hawk go and ... it walks right down the center - kind of like the Virgina Reel =)

It was quite an experience. The birds were all magnificent! Absolutely amazing creatures. I can hardly wait until next year's assembly. I work in such an amazing place!!

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