Saturday, December 29, 2012,
This is Copper, the resident fox at Sweetbriar Nature Center. He came to Sweetbriar as a young kit about four years ago. He’d been hit by a car and while the docs were examining him they discovered that besides his injuries, Copper had apparently been born with some birth defects. This little guy – all foxes are little – is blind in one eye and very nearly so in the other. He’s also missing one of his rear paws, although he gets around so well that it almost goes unnoticed.
Copper recovered from his injuries but his birth defects made him an unsuitable candidate for reintroduction to the wild. A blind fox cannot hunt. Or avoid cars for that matter. So instead, Copper spends his days in an enclosure built specifically for him. That’s not only great for Copper but it allows visitors at Sweetbriar to have a good look at these very secretive critters. These guys are as shy as they are beautiful. I’ve been playing in the woods for over 45 years and I could count up all of my fox sightings without even starting on my toes. Now I can visit with Copper anytime.
Copper can be seen every day at Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown. Go check him out. Admission is free and there’s plenty more to see and do once you’re there. JK
Thursday, April 12, 2012,
More Sweetbriar goodness here. Last Saturday, Sweetbriar Nature Center had their annual Spring Festival. I came by to take some pics. The place was hopping. And I’m not talking about just the Easter Bunny. We drew a huge crowd this year.
I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. It was the day before Easter and Sweetbriar had a jam-packed schedule of fun for everyone. There were games, stories, wildlife programs, face painting, and egg hunts. The egg hunts were the big favorite. For more pics of the festivities, check out Sweetbriar’s Facebook page. I posted some pics there as well.
My favorite part, as always, was the wildlife presentations. It was a beautiful day with lots of sun, perfect for taking pics. This Red-tailed Hawk was just one of the day’s attractions. Such majestic birds, don’t you think? JK
Tuesday, April 3, 2012,
I stopped into Sweetbriar Nature Center a couple days back. I stop into Sweetbriar fairly often but on Sunday I was there to hear a lecture on the talon strength of various raptors. That’s raptors as in birds like falcons, hawks, or owls – not those wonderful critters that Steven Spielberg brought to the big screen. While I was there, I got to meet some of the new charges in the rehab room. This is one of the perks to being a volunteer there. You get to see all the really cool stuff. As chance would have it, two of the cooler new patients were raptors. The bird at the top of the post is a baby Great Horned Owl. These guys are beautiful from the get-go. Super cute when they’re young, and then just plain magnificent as adults. Check out the size of him. I’ve got a cat that isn’t any bigger. This “little” one apparently has some soft tissue damage in one or both of its legs and has difficulty standing upright. He’s greatly improved since his arrival but he’s not quite ready for the great outdoors just yet. Don’t be alarmed by those eyelids. That’s its nictitating membrane. It’s sort of a second eyelid.
On the other hand, there is definitely something wrong with this bird’s eye. This adult Cooper’s Hawk has an infection and its eye is both very swollen and clouded. It was really nasty looking on Sunday but I’m told it’s already looking much better. Another feel-good story at Sweetbriar. JK