Earthworms Castings

By Jean Ponzi

Birds In Concert

White wings flash silently over our heads.

It’s a moon-eyed Barn Owl, swooping just above the crowd. She flies between the gloved arms of calm volunteers stepping up and down the amphitheater rows. We gasp with delight, while we’re singing with the band:

Clean water, clean water
Everybody needs clean water
Joyful music is a waterfall in the warm night air.

St. Louis is rich in free outdoor summer events: concerts, movies, festivals of all kinds. When August rolls around, a lot of these offerings are done. That’s when World Bird Sanctuary opens its doors, inviting us up into the woods of St. Louis County, just off I-44 at 141, tucked in next to Lone Elk Park.

Have you been there? New or returning visitor: gather your family and friends and Go!

Every Thursday night in August, Birds in Concert takes the open-air stage at World Bird. House band the Raptor Project is joined each week by musical friends who play in many styles. And by eagles, falcons, owls and a raven who bobs a thank-you as he plucks donation bills from your hand.

Come a little early and stroll the grounds. You’ll meet Shawnee and Menomonee, sandhill cranes, Fred the vulture – and many other residents, birds who have healed from injuries in the World Bird hospital, and now live at the sanctuary as eloquent members of the education team.

Bring a picnic supper; there are pavilion-sheltered tables. If you come to the concerts after dinner, your purchase of snacks (and Gift Shop treats) supports the work of World Bird, rehabbing injured raptors, and educating all ages about our planet’s amazing birds of prey.

Learning is purely fun on Birds In Concert nights – and it’s up close and personal. With our national emblem zooming overhead, to the tune of Eagle Wind. With the banana-yellow python marching (on shoulders of a World Bird volunteer) as the band rings out Snake Parade. And with summer wind in pine branches, whispering with their happy anthem, my favorite Raptor Project song:

Little tree sprouts where the big trees grow
Someday she might hold a bird’s nest
Little tree’s strong in what all trees know
There’s a place for you in the forest!

Raptor Project musicians are the working heart of World Bird’s operations everyday. Band leaders and composers Joe Hoffman and Roger Holloway manage sanctuary, bird hospital, and outreach operations. The Hot Wings (lovely and talented backup singers) are educators and marketing mavens. And Trina Whitener (my friend, I’m proud to say), rocks the electric bass, serves as an extraordinary educator-naturalist, and sometimes channels Janis Joplin and Bobby McGee.

These folks know birds, and know how to relate nature to people: with music, sound knowledge, wonder and FUN.

Join the World Bird (human and avian) team and their musical guests every Thursday night in August. Concerts from 7-8:30 pm are FREE. Refreshment and gift shop sales – and your donations – support this lean and globally respected organization’s unparalleled healing and teaching work. Learn more at www.worldbirdsanctuary.org

August 4 – Raptor Project and Javier Mendoza
August 11 – Raptor Project with treats and prizes
August 18 – Raptor Project with Augusta Bottoms Consort
August 25 – Babaloo! and the Raptor Project

Jean Ponzi converses about all things Green in weekly KDHX Earthworms podcasts. Pick ‘em up at Earthworms.kdhXtra.org, or through iTunes.