Encounters with Nature

Suzanne Clothier with National Aviary staff & PUMPKIN, Eurasian Hawk Owl

On my May 2019 trip to Pittsburgh, I had the pleasure of presenting my evening lecture at the National Aviary. What a great way to start an evening program — with a visit from Pumpkin, a Eurasian Hawk Owl. Pumpkin was pretty laid back, without a single ruffled feather as we gathered around to admire his beauty.

After a great weekend focusing on Assessing the Whole Dog, sponsored by CARMAA, my friend April Minech and I returned to the aviary to spend time enjoying the birds and exhibits.

We were enjoying the many species in the rainforest aviary when one of the staff asked if anyone would like to help her feed some of the birds. April’s hand shot up!, A mealworm was placed into her open palm, and she stood patiently waiting to see which lovely creature would come to her hand to feed.

I loved the look on her face as she waited. Animals of all kinds delight her, as they do me, so I knew this was going to be a memorable experience for my friend. It is always thrilling to have an up-close encounter with Nature. Sometimes, it is just magical. And sometimes, it doesn’t quite match up to expectations.

Here’s how it played out for April – enjoy!