Flying high again …
People flocked to Taylor Creek Visitors Center in clusters Saturday as the U.S. Forest Service and Tahoe Institute for Natural Science launched the fifth annual Lake Tahoe Bird Festival.
Visitors engaged in bird trivia, bird walks and sightseeing and various educational components from volunteer organizations that had booths.
The U.S. Forest Service, Tahoe Institute for Natural Science, Lahontan Audubon Society, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, among other organizations, were present to provide information on the local bird wildlife.
People flowed into the outdoor auditorium to watch master falconer Marie Gaspari Crawford and her apprentice Rachel Halliday as they presented three birds of prey: a gyr falcon named Casper, a red-tail hawk named Dartanyon and a 30-day-old kestrel named Tinkerbell.
Crawford explained that falcons weren’t pets and that falconers had to go through rigorous training, state and federal licensing to handle birds of prey.
“There is a lot of trust involved in this,” Crawford told people before the demonstration. “You have to respect what these birds can do.”
The festival, which began in 2010, has a few purposes according to Sarah Hockensmith, outreach coordinator for Tahoe Institute for Natural Science.
“We try to inform people about our natural bird species and how to identify them,” Hockensmith said.
Educating people about the local Tahoe ecology is another purpose, something that fosters a sense of recreation and conservation.
“We try to do our best to get people stoked on nature so they can better understand the local wildlife and environment and then take on a level of stewardship,” Hockensmith said. “The more education that people have, the more they will want to take an active role.”
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