A Feathered February

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Birds have grown on me. They used to be my least favorite group of animals, now (over time) they have become one of my favorites. Living in a rural area along the Snake River, I’m surrounded by them 24/7. (As I write this blog, I’m staring straight ahead at the river, counting various river coots, ducks, sea gulls, and a hawk far off in the distance.) This February, I was fortunate enough to meet some incredible birds and the people who dedicate their lives to them. Here’s a look at some of my favorite moments from this ‘Feathered February’.

Mix 106 Radio with The Peregrine Fund and The World Center for Birds of Prey.

Boise’s Mix 106 Radio with The Peregrine Fund and The World Center For Birds Of Prey.

For the first time I was going to exclusively work with birds on The Today Show. My good luck charm before any Today appearance, is stopping by Boise’s Mix 106 radio. I called my good friends from The World Center For Birds Of Prey to help make the exciting announcement.

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Owls have excellent eye site and superb hearing.

Joining them was Wally, the Eurasian Eagle Owl. With a wingspan of nearly 5 ft, these owls are one of the largest on the planet! In Europe and Asia they are top predators, feeding on rabbits, foxes, and even young deer.

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One of the smallest Birds of Prey, the American Kestrel.

During the appearance, I really wanted to introduce listeners to a small raptor commonly seen around country, the American Kestrel. These tenacious little predators eat insects, rodents, and even other birds.

Special thanks to Mike, Nicole, JD, and The Birds of Prey team!

Special thanks to Mike, Nicole, JD, and The Birds of Prey team!

A Bald Eagle near Given's Hot Springs on Hwy 78 in Melba, ID.

A Bald Eagle near Given’s Hot Springs on Hwy 78 in Melba, ID.

I could never get sick of seeing too many Bald Eagles. After nearing getting into an accident trying to stop my car in time, I was able to step out and capture this picture. The eagles breed in the winter and can often be seen along the Snake River.

Holding a Kestrel with Tamron Hall and Al Roker.

Featured in my hometown paper, The Owhyee Avalanche, holding a Kestrel.

A far cry from home, New York City!

A far cry from home, New York City!

Even in a city home to millions, you can still find various birds…and I’m not just talking about pigeons! New York City is home to Peregrine Falcons, Kestrels, and even Great Horned Owls.

Two-month-old Spectacled Owl chick.

Two-month-old Spectacled Owl chick.

This was the first face I saw walking into my green room- I couldn’t believe it! I had seen pictures of baby Spectacled Owls on Google, but nothing compared to seeing one in person!

Adult Spectacled Owl.

Adult Spectacled Owl.

The chick won’t stay a white fuzz ball forever. The adults sport dark plumage and white circles around the eyes, giving the appearance of them wearing glasses or “spectacles”.

Top: Pictured with Phung and Cora with Animal Behavior and Conservation Connections.

I teamed up with my friends from Animal Behavior and Conservation Connections. They are leading experts on birds and training behaviors.

Marvin the Aracari (small toucan) during the segment.

Marvin the Aracari (small toucan) during the segment.

I was thrilled to reunite with actor Dean Cain and work with Sheinelle Jones for the first time.

Rizzo the Rose-breasted Cockatoo demonstrating the importance of recycling.

Rizzo the Rose-breasted Cockatoo demonstrating the importance of recycling.

One thing I wanted to focus on during this appearance, was showcasing the birds’ intelligence. More often than not, birds do not get the credit they deserve! Rizzo is trained to pick up cans and fly them over to a recycling bin! We could all learn a little from Rizzo!

The Grand Finale: A flock of Sun Conures.

The Grand Finale: A flock of Sun Conures.

Sun Conures travel in giant flocks in the rainforests of Central and South America. They feed on various fruits, seeds, and nuts.

Conures taking over the studio!

Conures taking over the studio!

A camera looks like a nice perch!

A camera looks like a nice perch!

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Napoleon my pet emu.

I was fortunate enough to meet some incredible birds during the month of February…But nothing compares to coming home to this one! For those of you wondering if I have shifted my focus primarily to birds, rest assured; We have exciting plans coming up for my next appearance on The Today Show on Wednesday, March 29th. Let the countdown begin!