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'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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".
I teamed up with my friends from Animal Behavior and Conservation Connections. They are leading experts on birds and training behaviors.
I was thrilled to reunite with actor Dean Cain and work with Sheinelle Jones for the first time.
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!
Sun Conures travel in giant flocks in the rainforests of Central and South America. They feed on various fruits, seeds, and nuts.
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!