SOME QUIET TIME: We all, in all of our various roles, know what it is to step outside of our day-to-day to rest or to heal or because we're going through a time of transition or change. So it is with the wildlife ambassadors at the animal preserves and centers of California. We look to these beasties to inspire us with their stories and to educate us about the challenges that birds or bears or foxes or reptiles face in their various home habitats. One of the best known 'round the Walnut Creek area was Topaz, a Golden Eagle who served as a wildlife ambassador at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience for some time. But visitors who arrived at the nature-informative spot over the last few months did not have a chance to admire Topaz in person -- or, rather, in eagle -- for the ambassador was recovering from some foot issues. Topaz's "personal animal keepers" also went through a change, meaning she was not the stately and dramatic presence visitors had come to know when stopping by the center's exhibit hall. But if you've missed her something fierce, fear not, feather fans: She's back, starting on Thursday, Jan. 7, to represent Golden Eagledom in all of its majesty and complexity and sheer awesome-ity, too.
THURSDAYS AT 4... will be the day of the week and time to see Topaz in January, and then her time will shift to 3:30 p.m. in February (still on Thursdays). Staffers advise visitors to keep a watch on the sight for "additional programming dates." But keep an eye for sure: She's only out for a sliver of each week, as ambassadors do need their all-important R&R. If you don't know Topaz's story, she's been at the Walnut Creek animal-care location for over a decade. Topaz hails from the Lake Tahoe region, but her stay at the center is due to a wing "(s)he is unable to fully extend," which means "sustained flight" is a no-go. To learn more about her life there, the people she's met, and how she lays eggs each and every year, you can alight at Topaz's online HQ at the wildlife rehabilitation center's site.