BRISTOL – FN Manross Library played host to a variety of rescued birds of prey and reptiles Thursday as part of an educational exhibition for area families.
This event was put on by raptor rescue and rehabilitation nonprofit group Christine’s Critters.
“We are so excited to see so many faces excited to meet animals,” said licensed falconer and group founder Christine Peyreigne.
The organization, based in Weston, travels across the state running educational programs to help fund the organization’s rehabilitation programs.
“Many people ask me what got me interested in birds of prey and the answer is I started my bird journey by becoming a falconer at 16-years old and I would go out with my Red-Tailed Hawk and we would go hunting for a variety of small animals for him to eat and that is where I found my passion for birds of prey,” said Christine.
The falconer noted that by posting her activities online, people wanted to learn more. She said it was only a matter of time before someone brought a baby hawk in their yard to her looking for help. She turned to her friend who was a wildlife rehabilitator who then in turn taught Christine about becoming one herself.
“It was through this one little injured bird that I found my passion for rehabbing wildlife,” she said. “When I turned 18, I became licensed with the US Fish and Wildlife specifically to rehab birds of prey.”
Christine said that many birds are protected for good reasons in the country and that those who wished to work with them had to be vetted and permitted.
“Most of our birds of prey are coming into rehab because of man-made causes, whether that is hit by a car, eating a poisoned mouse. Sometimes even, people aren’t nice to birds and they intentionally shoot them,” she continued.
Christine’s mother, Betsy Peyreigne, assisted her daughter in the handling and educational presentation of animals. She noted that when Christine was young, she also had a passion for caring for reptiles, however, the pair no longer accept reptile rescues due to caring for the long-lived ones they already have.
Families were encouraged to touch a pair of life-partnered Crested Geckos, Shrek and Fiona and Lemon Drop, a Burmese Python.
Birds of prey were discouraged from being touched but families were able to see and learn about Eastern Screech Owl Ash, Kestrel Queso and Broad-winged Hawk Ariel.