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OFA Officers

Jonathan Coleman
President

Chris Kimble
Vice President

Bart Russell
President-elect

Shane Bullard
Treasurer

Rob Huber
Secretary



OFA is an affiliate of the North American Falconers' Association

OFA is a proud contributor to The Falconry Fund

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Camp McFadden Outdoor Expo  May 14-15, 2011


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Last weekend, May 14th & 15th, OFA participated in a Camp McFadden’s Outdoor Expo. There were approximately 250 kids and their parents that came though the camp to participate in making arts & crafts, a zip line, and to see demonstrations on flint knapping, dutch oven cooking, and, of course, birds of prey.

Mark Runnels, Cole Runnels and Stephen Olner, along with their families and Mark’s Gyr-Peregrine hybrid, Stormy, and Stephen’s passage Red-Tail, Shilo, attended the event.


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The children and their families were taught to appreciate the birds as beautiful, noble creatures that had a definite place in nature. Several had stories about hawks that they had seen in the wild and the things that they had seen them do.


One of the parents stated that he shot Red-Tails in his backyard because they killed the small birds at his birdfeeder. We had the opportunity to explain to him that his birds were almost certainly being killed by Cooper’s hawks that appeared from, and disappeared to, the heavy cover before he could react and that the Red-tails that he was blaming were more likely eating the rats and mice that were attracted by the birdseed, as well as, the fact that birds of prey are protected and it is illegal to shoot them.

We explained to him that he had the rare privilege of seeing nature in action. Small birds have been chased and eaten by Cooper’s Hawks for thousands of years, and he is lucky to be able to witness this natural drama in his own backyard. He left stating that he wouldn’t shoot the Red-tails now that he knew the truth, and that he was going to try to get a picture of the Cooper’s in action. This one person made the event a success.

One of the Camp Directors found a small rat snake. The snake was “rescued” from a shovel blow and it was added to the activities. Janae Runnels is 12 years old and an accomplished snake handler. She was able to talk the other children about snakes in general, including a warning to never touch a wild snake without knowing for sure if it is venomous or not.


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All in all, it was a good weekend. Several people left with an education in a specific area of raptor biology and all the children’s first exposure to birds of prey was a positive experience. They were taught to view them as the noble, majestic creatures that they are rather than worthless varmints.

-Mark Runnels


All of the photos are the work of Latrell Olner and are used here with her permission.


 
 

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January, 2018

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