Across the state last weekend, visitors flocked to sugar shacks to celebrate Maple Open House Weekend. Flocks of families traveled to Shelburne Farms to taste the sweet syrup — and also to meet birds of prey. Young and old alike marveled at the chance to get close to a red-tailed hawk, a barred owl, an eastern screech owl and an American kestrel. These birds are called "wild ambassadors," and they aren’t able to be released back into the wild due to injuries, even after being rehabilitated. Thanks to permits from the U.S. and Vermont departments of fish and wildlife, they travel to schools, festivals and camps providing a learning experience for thousands.
Founded in 1989, Outreach for Earth Stewardship is a nonprofit educational organization that also rehabilitates about 50 injured birds a year. In 1997, OFES partnered with Shelburne Farms to offer educational programs such as Raptors in Residence every May through October.
OFES director Craig Newman was present over the weekend to introduce the birds to the crowds and answer a copious amount of questions. Known by some as “the Bird Whisperer” or “the Owl Guy,” Craig has a calm demeanor mirroring that of the birds. We talked to Craig and OFES volunteers about the importance of educating the public about these majestic creatures.
Shooting date: 3/24/19
Music: Kevin MacLeod, "Winter Reflections" & "Night of the Owl"