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October 21, 2014
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Birds of a feather

Artist Helena Clare Pittman posed with her painting "Self Portrait with Roses" at an opening reception at the DVAA in Narrowsburg, NY.


On Sunday, I was thrilled to spot the first robins in the yard. Crowing with delight, I made a mental note to pick up a bird feeder while out and about and pecked at my breakfast while soothing the pup, deciding that she should stay home, rather than accompany me to “Little Sparrow and the Eagles” at the DVAA’s Tusten Theatre. The band (www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Sparrow) was in fine form (as always) warming up the sold-out crowd that had swarmed to Narrowsburg to hear lead vocalist Carol Smith join newly affianced Aldo Troiani, fiddler Lynn Reno and fellow musicians Fred Scholl and Lester Wilson deliver their toe tapping mix of bluegrass, ‘60s rock and Americana that never fails to please. Following Little Sparrow can be intimidating, but not for the likes of the Delaware Valley Raptor Center’s Bill Streeter, (www.dvrconline.org) whose live birds of prey demonstration and lecture were so captivating, fascinating, informative and entertaining, that I momentarily forgot that I’m terrified of birds. With more than 30 years of expertise, Streeter provides an amazing up-close and personal opportunity for his audience to learn about preservation, protection and rehabilitation of the majestic falcons, owls and eagles that grace the river region, thanks to the efforts of organizations like the DVRC. “New York is a major hawk flyway” Streeter reported, while handling a red-tail and explaining their habitat, history and factoids regarding mating habits and astounding abilities to hunt and fish in their environment. While the birds that Streeter has rescued (with the help of others) have been given sweet names, he is careful to instill a healthy respect for the magnificent creatures, while simultaneously entertaining kids and adults with cautionary tales about how society has impacted their environment. Like so many others, I was awed by the birds and learned a great deal, grateful for the experience, but still determined to keep my distance while attempting to capture their beauty with the camera. On my way home, I spotted two stunning bald eagles in flight over the Delaware, and my heart soared. Who gives a hoot? I do.