A RARE MOMENT WITH BIG BIRDS: Watching a hummingbird or dove or quail often means that we need to be in their immediate vicinity, the better to either hear their coo or detect their tiny, tiny wings in blurry motion as they pause near a feeder. In short, closer proximity is often required with some of our smaller winged friends, if we want to admire the shape of their beak or the color of their feathers or fully enjoy the hum of their particular call. Proximity, though, isn't necessary, or even much of a consideration, when it comes to the bigger birds of the wild. You can see a hawk riding the breeze at several hundred feet away, and the same goes for raptors and owls, too. The span of their wings can induce a "whoa" from any onlooker and their powerful presence in the sky makes finding one, while out on a hike or bike ride, a special treat. But visiting the Ojai Raptor Center in Ojai, which puts humans in much closer proximity with these birds, isn't typically a possibility. The wildlife rehabilitation center keeps public entry to a minimum, the better to allow any creatures in their care the time, space, and peace to rest and recover from illness or injury. However, there are a few special days each year when, for just a few hours, avian aficionados may visit the center, to learn more about the important work that's being done to save and help California's impressively sized birds.
"THE LARGEST FLIGHT AVIARY IN CALIFORNIA"... will host its Fall Open House on Sunday, Oct. 25. Besides getting a peek around, you'll get acquainted with the center's "newest education ambassadors, including Miki the Mississippi Kite, Red the Red-Shouldered Hawk, and Drifter the Broad-Winged Hawk." Other fun 'n feathery goings-on shall take proverbial flight, from getting to see other birds in the facility (including those beasties who cannot be released) and hearing from the experts. Kid-oriented to-dos, too, are on the schedule. Cost? It's a five-dollar donation, but, here's what you get: More knowledge about the magnificent and mondo birds we so often see winging above us, out in the countryside. And more knowledge about what we non-winged creatures can do to help them when they're not well or when they need a little R&R before they head back to the wider sky.