Bird in Hand event comes to Greenbank Farm

Reach out and touch a bird, or 100. And meet “Zeb” the hawk, too.

Whidbey Audubon Society volunteer Kelly Zupich works on a bird specimen in taxidermist Matt Klope’s Oak Harbor studio for the Bird in Hand exhibit at Greenbank Farm.

Reach out and touch a bird, or 100.

And meet “Zeb” the hawk, too.

Whidbey Audubon Society members have been working hard with professional taxidermist Matt Klope preparing specimens for hands-on examination at “Bird in Hand‚ the Grand Finale” from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 14 at Greenbank Farm.

After a year of various programs that focus on stewardship and education, the Whidbey Audubon Society ends its season with an exciting opportunity for the whole family. Bird in Hand allows bird lovers to get an up-close-and-personal look of the wide variety of birds on Whidbey Island. Participants can touch the taxidermied birds and have the experience of what a Great Horned Owl’s feathers feel like, or the feel of a raptor’s talons.

“What I enjoy most is being able to see birds really up close to where you can actually see feather patterns, feet and bills or beaks,” Klope said,  “the things you just can’t see through a spotting scope.”

On hand will be more than 400 specimens of the full gamut of island birds, from passerines and raptors to all the seabirds and shore birds, ducks, geese and others.

Bird in Hand will allow young and old alike to closely study the bird specimens that have been carefully preserved by hard working volunteers under the tutelage of Klope.

Klope is a U.S. Naval wildlife biologist and owner of Whidbey Island Taxidermy. He started the collection.

“Matt has a taxidermy permit from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, which allows him to be in possession of the expired birds,” said Whidbey Audubon Society member Robin Llewellyn, one of the organizers of the event.

“A number of the birds also belong to the Whidbey Audubon Society which holds a Fish and Wildlife Salvage permit through Sarah Schmidt, past president of the Whidbey Audubon Society,” Llewellyn added.

Being able to see the delicate feathers is the best way to learn to identify birds and to admire their beauty,” Llewellyn said. “Some of the most beautiful colors and patterns found in nature are found on birds,” she said.

Klope said the shorebirds are some of his favorites.

“I think the shorebirds are pretty cool because their plumages change so much throughout the year,” he said.

Besides the feather patterns and colors, the program also gives folks a chance to see the beaks, wings, tails, eyes, feet and the owls’ ears.

Everyone is welcome to come to the open house event at the big red barn on the farm where society members will answer questions and offer interesting facts about the birds. A powerful microscope and magnifiers will also be available to observe the feather structure of the birds.

“Looking at the feathers of an owl demonstrates just how these birds are able to fly without making a sound,” Llewellyn said.

Klope’s flock of specimen preparers includes Tillie Scruton, Sarah Schmidt, Lisa Harkins, Janet Stein, Oz Allen, Dan Klope and Sarah Templin, who in the course of the past two years, have painstakingly turned dead birds into learning tools.

“The Audubon members have been so good at collecting and correctly labeling birds, that any extras we get are sent to the Division of Birds, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution,” Klope said.  “So, many of the members have their names on a specimen at the Smithsonian. That is very cool,” he added.

“This hands-on experience is very educational and lets us all know more about the curious world of birds around us,” Llewellyn said.

As a special guest, the society is honored to welcome Julia Parrish, or one of the members of her Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) from the University of Washington, to answer any questions about seabirds.

Falconer Dr. Mark Borden will also be present, accompanied by his living Harris hawk, “Zeb.”

The event is free and open to the public.

 

More in Life

Origins of fairgrounds’ story pole is a mystery

South Whidbey historian on the case to uncover true carver

Blues, berries, fun and fundraising at Saturday festival

Mutiny Bay Blues Farm hosts Commons Cafe event

Annual street dance, live bands set for Saturday

Langley’s new annual dancing-in-the-street summertime tradition is back for the third year,… Continue reading

New public art debuts in Langley

Steel and glass shape pieces chosen by arts commission

Denis Zimmermann and his wife, Cheryl, run Langley’s new ramen restaurant, Ultra House, which opened in May 2018. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times.
Langley restaurant owner is recreating his childhood with new ramen house

Denis Zimmer-mann said he’s not re-inventing the wheel with his ramen restaurant… Continue reading

A 1941 Graham Hollywood, owned by Roy Deaver of Clinton, was chosen as Best of Show in the Cool Bayview Nights car show Saturday.
Rain doesn’t dampen the fun at Cool Bayview Nights car show

Attendees selected the mildly modified and rebuilt 1941 Graham Hollywood, owned by… Continue reading

Shakespeare Festival plays emotional range

Female directors, perspective at the forefront

Expanding knowledge

Whidbey Institute adds more lodging, plans open house

Congolese Festival is a chance to celebrate, educate

Last event before Northwest Cultural Center relocates

Shhh…it’s a surprise party for old-timer Bill Lanning

Friends, customers invited to celebrate former owner of Bill’s Feed Tack

Mucking about for clams

‘Digging for Dinner’ a popular Sound Water activity

Scorch is a play about gender identification showing at Outcast’s black box theater on the Island County fairgrounds June 13-17. It’s a one-person play, performed by Carmen Berkeley. Director and co-producer Ty Molbak went to middle school in Langley was was active in Whidbey Children’s Theater. Both will be seniors at Rutgers University in the fall. One scene in the play “Scorch” portrays the main character looking into mirrors and wondering what others see.
‘Scorch’ looks at first love and ‘gender fraud’

Irish play revolves around one character’s confusion