Enraptured by birds at Southwest Public Libraries

Messenger photos by Dedra Cordle
The Southwest Public Libraries promises its patrons who participate in the annual Summer Reading Challenge weeks of new adventures that make a lifetime of good memories. And judging by the surprised, yet delighted, look on the face of SuAnn Markin as a hawk named Riebe lands on her gloved arm during a recent programming event, the staff at SPL delivered on that promise. On June 18, Sean O’Hara, a general class falconer with the Ohio School of Falconry, and five of their most well-trained birds of prey visited the Grove City and Westland Area libraries for several hours to help children and adults gain a better understanding of the majestic animals who rule the skies. Supported by the State Library of Ohio with federal funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, those in the audience were enraptured by the program and appreciative for having been able to get up close and personal with hawks and owls. “It was amazing,” said Markin, 9. To learn more about falconry and upcoming programs with the Ohio School of Falconry, visit their website at www.ohioschooloffalconry.com. To learn about what new adventures await at the Grove City and Westland Area libraries, visit their website at www.swpl.org.
Shelly, an Anatum Peregrine Falcon, gets a reminder on the proper behavior in a library from Sean O’Hara. According to the general class falconer who has been training at the Ohio School of Falconry for the past three years, the Peregrine Falcon can reach speeds of up to 240 miles per hour when in a dive, making it one of the fastest animals on Earth.
Grove City resident Leighanna Burt, 10, is full of amazement as she gets to meet Riebe. All meet and greets with the Harris’s Hawk were under the close supervision of O’Hara.
Henson, a Eurasian Eagle Owl, chills out in the large meeting room at the Grove City Library.
Riebe listens for the command of O’Hara.
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