Some very special guests on Sunday's Weekend Today in Centrall NY, a pair of owls. They were visiting, as a preview of bird-oriented wildlife festivals coming up in May here in Central New York.
Cindy Page, a wildlife rehabilitator with Page Wildlife Center in Manlius, brought in the owls, a young Snowy Owl (white with brown mottling) and a Barred Owl, a dark, dark-eyed forest-dwelling bird, sometimes called a hoot owl. Both have very large, fixed eyes on their 'faces' which Cindy explained is why many people think they look wise. The snowy owl is an Arctic bird (we see them come south and hang out at Hancock Airport in the winter), and it was overheating in our studio, so Cindy was feeding her cold water out of a cup and ice chips!
Frank Moses, director of Montezuma Audubon in Savannah, was also our guest. His wildlife area was this area's first Important Bird Area, a designation the NY DEC and Audubon Society earned because of the habitat (on the north end of the federal Montezuma Wildlife Refuge) and the thousands of birds that pass through on migration. Moses says the waterfowl spring migration is pretty much done, but warblers and songbirds are still coming up from the South.
Montezuma Audubon has a Wildlife Festival, it's 7th annual, next Saturday, May 4th 10am - 3pm. They'll offer live bird and animal displays (including Bald Eagles and Wolves) as well as canoe paddles and nature hikes, where you can see the center's nesting Great Horned Owls. Food, including a BBQ and family fun, too.
Derby Hill Bird Observatory, in Mexico, Oswego County, also has a Bird Festival the following Saturday May 11th 10am - 3pm, with live birds and family-oriented activities, and BBQ.
And, more birds: all morning we were looking in live, on a 24x7 website run by Cornell's All About Birds, watching a Red-Tailed Hawk nest with three very hungry babies. We got emails from some of you, worried about 'raw' nature (Red-Tails eat mice, other rodents and rabbits, which they kill), so, if you go to the same website you can also see nesting Great Blue Herons at Cornell's Sapsucker Woods!