Naturalist Corner: Aaron Loenhorst

 

Birds have captivated my imagination since I was very young. Through close encounters with many different species, both in captivity and in the wild, I have learned about their behavior, characteristics, and beauty. However, I had never experienced the fierce personality and prowess of raptors until this fall as a naturalist at Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center. In programming and through regular husbandry, both Beauty (Red-Tailed Hawk) and Stella (Barred Owl) have called me to look at the world through different eyes. With time and hard work, we have gained a relationship of mutual respect –or if not reciprocated, at least one of tolerance. Although their unique complexities and dispositions require constant vigilance, I have learned that their cooperation requires tenderness and confidence on my part. I have observed that Beauty in particular radiates prestige and wildness. Stella, on the other hand, behaves timidly yet contentiously. While to them I may just be another encroaching educator, to me they are the culmination of wonder in the natural world. Because of my experiences with these amazing creatures, observing the world of birds will never be the same.

 

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