It was a teacher’s suggestion that led 16-year-old Tessa Anderson of Tonganoxie to Wyandotte County Lake on Sunday — and she wasn’t disappointed.
“We got to see some really cool birds,” said Tessa, who along with several members of her family attended the 16th annual Eagle Days program held by F. L. Schlagle Library at Wyandotte County Lake.
The program, which was held both Saturday and Sunday, featured an exhibit of live birds by Operation WildLife, an animal rescue and rehabilitation organization in Kansas.
“My favorite was the falcon,” said Tessa’s 8-year-old brother, Kobe. “It dives in at its prey, and it’s the fastest flying animal.”
For Tessa, it was the screech owls that she liked seeing, partly because “owls are really cool.”
“I’ve never seen an owl up close — I got about 2 inches away,” she said holding her thumb and index finger apart. “You can get as close as you can without touching, which is really cool.”
The library holds its eagle program in January because bald eagles migrate through the area this time of year.
“At Wyandotte County Lake, some of them do stay year-round, but we see a lot more during winter because of the migration season,” said Jessica Lawrenz, lead education specialist at the library.
The library partners with the Kansas City, Kan., Board of Public Utilities to educate people about bald eagles and other birds of prey. Operation WildLife volunteers brought in several birds of prey, including owls, falcons, hawks and eagles, to show and talk about the birds.
In addition to the library, the live-bird presentations took place at James P. Davis Hall, also at the lake. The presentations allowed people to get a up close look at the birds.
“All animals, birds of prey even, have a special job or niche in their environment,” Lawrenz said. “I think it’s important for the public to understand the importance of individual species of animals and birds that they are learning about today.”
Amber Falscroft and her 7-year-old son, Jay, attended the presentation because he likes birds of prey, especially owls and eagles.
But it was a larger bird that caught his eye.
“I learned a turkey vulture has big wings,” Jay said.
“I think it’s really good,” Amber Falscroft said about the program. “It teaches him about the different animals we have in our country and our states.”
She said he’s fascinated by different animals and creatures and gets excited about them.
“I think it’s good our kids learn about new things and learn about the animals around us,” Falscroft said.