While a bookstore can be a place to glean knowledge or hear a good story, a group of Maricopa youngsters had their own stories to tell after a presentation of two birds of prey at Secondhand Pages Bookstore Dec. 15.
Cindy Weisenberg, who along with her husband Steve, runs the Buteo Shadows Raptor Center in Maricopa, was on-hand Saturday with two of the birds that she and her husband work with at the center. Weisenberg showed off Booboo, a great horned owl, and Tomahawk, a Harris hawk, to a group of young children and their parents during an hour-long seminar.
While she works to rehabilitate injured and displaced birds before helping to release them back into the wild, Weisenberg said the No. 1 goal of doing the educational seminars for the community is to teach others a respect for wildlife.
“The minute people see these birds, their thought process about them changes,” she said. “I want people to understand birds want to feel happiness, to feel safe and secure and they all have moments where they are frustrated just like us.”
Having worked with birds since 1991, including at the Alaska Raptor Center before moving to Arizona – Weisenberg said she tailors each presentation to her crowd, mixing in more detailed knowledge for the parents while still keeping it simple for the kids. She said simple things, like warning children not to take birds out of a nest or basic safety around birds of prey, can pay dividends in rooting a healthy respect at an early age.
“We want people to look at these birds as something that is valued and not just something flying around. With the birds of prey... they are just incredible. There’s a lot more to these creatures than what it appears.”
Weisenberg and her husband Steve Staviski have given a number of presentation to classes, boy scouts and other groups. To schedule an educational seminar or to donate to the ongoing construction and rehabilitation work at Buteo Shadows, call the center at (520) 424-9348.