MINWR- Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival 1-31

So today, after a rather unpleasant night that involved a lot of children throwing up, we ventured out to the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.  There were a lot of people there and the displays were nice, but I couldn’t help thinking how much better it could be.  It’s crammed into this tiny auditorium, and most of the vendors are birding tour representatives from other “exotic” places.  The classes and trips I’m sure are great, but what about the rest of us?  I was a little disappointed. On top of that, I found myself reeling with a conflict of interest when we visited the Raptor Project display.  It featured at least twenty different species, live, on display, and together.  Tethered, beautiful, and a few very anxious.  I instantly regretted coming to get a peek at them; I can’t agree that this is humane treatment of captive wildlife. Despite the educational value, where is the ethical value here?  The birds were subjected to loud noises, bright flashes, and the natural instincts that say that they shouldn’t be within such close quarters of each other.  My heart melted for the owls, the poor owls, who were hiding in their dark boxes. I felt a little anger as I watched the Caracara intelligently assessing the tether on it’s leg. I’m all for hands on education, but this was just too much.  I know they are well kept and cared for, but why do they need to become objects to be on display.  Whether they think in those terms or not, I’m sure they know they are captive, and that they’d rather not be faced with all these conflicting instincts.

Later, we went to the Black Point Drive area of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. It was popping in some places, dead in others.  The collage is a poor representation of some things I saw.

Here’s the list, without hiking any of the walk in areas.

  1. Lesser Yellowlegs
  2. Blue Winged Teal
  3. Northern Shovelers
  4. American Widgeon
  5. Common Tern
  6. Ring Billed Gull
  7. Roseate Spoonbill
  8. American Coot
  9. Little Blue Heron
  10. TriColored Heron
  11. Great Blue Heron
  12. American Avocet
  13. Northern Harrier
  14. Black Vulture
  15. Osprey
  16. Red Shouldered Hawk
  17. American Robins
  18. Red Winged Blackbirds
  19. Great Egret
  20. Snowy Egret
  21. Black Bellied Plover
  22. Willet
  23. Dunlin
  24. Cormorant
  25. Anhinga
  26. Pied billed grebe

There were many more species I’m sure, but I wasn’t able to get a good look at the larger groups of birds.

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