On Saturday, October 26, the Hoot Owl restaurant hosted a live owl and raptor event featuring Anne Mardiney of Wild Mountain Birds. Visitors were able to chat live with the representatives from Wild Mountain Birds including Peter Corey and Debbie Quick. Hoot Owl owners, Ariff Khan and Sabeen Hasan host Wild Mountain Birds in May and October of each year and Khan said, “It seems like a perfect tie-in with the Hoot Owl. It is a fun free event for families, and our customers generously donate to her organization to support her wildlife rehabilitation efforts. We had over 100 people attend this event and look forward to hosting other events.”
Mardiney has been a wildlife and wild bird rehabber since 2007 and takes in about 350 to 400 creatures, mostly birds, annually with approximately 65% released back to the wild. The program is conducted voluntarily with no financial support from State or other agencies. The birds utilized for demonstrations are not able to be released due to physical limitations which would limit their ability to survive on their own. Birds being rehabilitated are not brought out to the public. Donations are welcome and often used to offset the costs for food. Mardiney can charge a fee for the programs she conducts using the un-releasable education raptors.
Asked where her programs are held, Mardiney said, “I do go to schools and do short education programs with small groups. I won’t do assemblies because only the kids in front can see the birds or ask questions. I do about 80-85 education programs each year for pre-schools to senior citizen centers.”
She also shared a few common misconceptions people have about her program and live raptors.
“Many people think the screech owls are not real or are babies. They are all full-grown adults and skilled at perching without moving to try to be invisible. People ask if the raptors love me, or are my pets, and the answer is no to both. All came from the wild and are still innately wild. However, my peregrine falcon is imprinted on me. From the day it was confirmed he could not ever be released due to function in only one eye I purposely treated him differently, similarly to hand-raising a parrot, to let him get calm and comfortable around me and others.
Another assumption people make is that they can pet or touch these birds. They cannot, as they are still wild animals, easily stressed by noise, dogs, and anything unexpected. They are still dangerous. My migratory bird permits do not allow anyone but me and my authorized assistants to hold or touch the raptors.”
For more information or to make a donation, visit WildMountainBirds.com or look them up on Facebook.