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My Visit to REGI

Last week I was incredibly privileged to be invited to the release of 2 Common Loons rehabilitated by Raptor Education Group.  As if this wasn't exciting enough, it was also my very first visit to that magical place we call REGI!

This snowy owl is one of the many residents cared for by the incredible staff at Raptor Education Group Inc.Photo by Lisadawn Schram, Feathered Hope.Net
It's been almost a week since I was invited to attend the and photograph the loon release of "Summit." People who know me will be totally shocked when learning I was showered, and at REGI within an hour and a half from the invitation!  This included Emma's doggy walk first, travel time of about 30 minutes, stopping to get gas, and getting a little lost on the way.   (Of all the people this was important to, it was ME, knowing I could do it, having a less than reliable body due to back and neck injuries, I had become unwilling to trust myself. )

It was decided we would meet at REGI, which was fine by me-as I had never been there.  When I arrived, I was amazed at the sheer vastness of the housings available for the wildlife and humans as well.  I took a gamble and went for the door at the closest building.  Upon opening the door, I immediately closed the door, realizing Marge was doing what she does best-educating the public via our local news, about the recent influx of loons.

This Common Loon enjoys a minnow-filled tub at the REGI facility as it is nursed back to health by the staff. Photo by Lisadawn Schram, Feathered Hope.Net


I roamed around closely, not wanting to overstep my bounds, until Marge came out and invited me into the main building.  Immediately I saw a loon in the bathtub, and couldn't believe I was here-the place we see so often on videos, of loons swimming with minnows in the bathtub.   I took some quick photos and tried to stay out of everyone's way.  The space is small indeed for what Marge accomplishes here.  Food of every kind, medications, refrigerators-barely a pathway for humans to walk-but so full of love.  I was immediately comfortable, and did not for an instant feel my old "elevator" claustrophobia. Boxes of "pre-packaged" loons sat awaiting their trip to freedom at Moose Lake as well. 

While we were waiting for people who'd be attending the release to show up, Marge took the time to come over to me, in between 50,000 other things she was doing, (which she is SO good at), and said "Come out here, I have something to show you."  I followed her gladly.  We entered a large building.  Off to the right I could see an eagle through slats looking curiously at me, and we traveled on a gravel pathway to the end of the hall.  Marge opened the door and said, "Go on in."   I said, "You mean, inside?" as I saw 2 snowy owls and two rough legged hawks all sharing an open space-no cages here.  I said something to the effect of "Really?"  and immediately broke into tears and hugged her, so grateful was I for this marvelous opportunity to spend some time, JUST ME, alone with these absolutely marvelous, and previously unseen to me in the wild, even, beautiful winged creatures.  

A Rough-legged hawk and 2 Snowy Owls welcome me into their enclosure at the Raptor Education Group rehab facility. Photo by Lisadawn Schram, Feathered Hope.Net
The "Welcoming Committee"
I was immediately in love with the smaller snowy owl, who stood in the corner, and made what I call "pretty eyes" at me the whole time I was there, and never moved.   I just KNEW we were best friends for life-and I would gladly devote my life to her. What a gentle calm she(?) had about her.  I was swooped on often by the larger snowy owl, his big silent wings sending welcoming, cooling breezes my way as he flew very closely by.

This young Snowy Owl, a resident at Raptor Education Group, captured my heart. Photo by Lisadawn Schram, Feathered Hope.Net


This handsome Rough-Legged Hawk is one of several cared for by the talented REGI staff. Photo by Lisadawn Schram, Feathered Hope.Net


They all were a little curious of me, but I was much more curious of them.  I took some photos, and sat down on the ground, and just breathed in the reality of being there.  Needless to say, it had me wishing I had done just a few things differently in my life, dreaming I could have done something similar,  but what a half hour that was.  I will never forget it as long as I live.  Me, all alone, with owls and hawks.   I was a part of their little world for a short time, and I relished it every second of it, and was immensely thankful.

Stop back tomorrow as we make the journey to Moose Lake to release 2 of the nearly 70 loons nursed back to health by Marge Gibson and her incredible staff at Raptor Education Group.

1 comments:

  1. thorncolly said...:

    great article & loved the photos. Have followed Marge and her charges for years. I recall how hard the early days were . So thankful to see the interest & help there these days. We are blessed she & her group are there to help these animals get back into our environment. Its all why we live here - in their home !

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