Christmas Gift Selction # 7 For 2017 – Bird Of The Month Club

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Captive Golden Eagle

Note: This is a repost of one of our Top Ten Gifts for the discerning buyer originally published in December of 2013, a year that will live in infamy. In what has become a half-assed tradition here at The Institute we have been irregularly reposting these now famous gift selections when we remember to do so in a lame attempt to create a Holiday Tradition and mostly because we suddenly realize it’s Christmas time and we don’t have squat done. It’s fun and we don’t have to spend the time making new stuff up. Enjoy.

*The Institutes Own Bird of the Month Club!!!

Here’s something truly different for that often fussy hard to shop for person on your gift list. Give them a membership to our exclusive Bird of the Month club. They’ll have you to thank as each month, regular as clockwork, the Fed-ex guy shows up at their doorstep with that months selection. All birds are guaranteed to arrive alive, healthy and hungry, with full documentation as to country of origin, quarantine papers, customs declarations and care and feeding instructions. Note: our birds are guaranteed to be alive upon delivery, unlike the parrots that were imported from England in the 60’s that arrived as, well, dead parrots.

This has been a very successful program for us with satisfied customers in nearly every state. Imagine the fun as you wait for the Fed-ex delivery of each new months selection. Not only will the kids will be out of their excited sugar fried brains, but you will be too, as you wait for each month’s unique delivery. We can tell you the types of birds you will be receiving during the year but it will be a surprise as to which individual species you get each month.

This month’s selection has already been chosen and as you can see it is the beautiful American Golden Eagle. Imagine owning your very own Golden Eagle! This bird had recently been flying free over the Rocky mountains, hunting its prey, the Snowshoe hare or the wily Hoary Marmot or the occasional Shih Tzu, and through a special arrangement with the Department of the Interior we are able to trap them (using a patented humane Leg and Beak restraint system we developed here at the Institute) re-educate them and sedate them with FDA approved “EagleDown”  a mild tranquilizer we use to make the birds manageable while we do stuff to them.

Birds arrive at your doorstep in a humane carton, ready to be unpacked and placed in their new surroundings. Simply remove the bird, dispose of the packing pellets and snip the military grade zip-ties with heavy-duty wire cutters (not included), remove the eye patches and quickly but firmly stuff the bird into its new cast iron home, a 2′ x 3′ cast iron cage constructed out of 3/4″ rebar and welded tightly by trained free-range welders. Cage optional at small extra cost. Note: on some of the larger, more aggressive species you may choose to reverse the unpacking order. Note: Allow 7-14 days for sedative to wear off before handling birds. Carabao (water buffalo) hide gloves highly recommended, available for a small extra cost. If cage is not purchased we recommend chaining bird to heavy door frame, oak or heavy fire resistant metal best. Have children stay back at least 3′ from chained bird during birds waking hours.

Use caution when throwing live rabbits, (our eagles primary food) at them during feeding times. Eagles fiercely protect their food and will attack anyone coming close. Restrain children with fuzzy furry slippers from approaching eagle. There have been some unfortunate incidents reported. Live rabbits, or bunnies as they’re known in the United States, or hares as our friends in the U.K. call them, are available from our catalog at a small extra charge. Flemish Giant Rabbits also available by special order. Each Flemish Giant rabbit is a four day supply of food for your Eagle. Special pricing if rabbits are ordered around Easter. Choose our Year’s supply in special garage-ready storage unit.

This years exciting selection of species include the European Wood Stork, the very one that delivers all those European babies, the feisty but lovable Caracara, a South American eagle, (wear protective eyewear around this eagles razor sharp beak) the Dipper or Ouzel for those with garden ponds, our choice of either a Great, Barred, or Barn owl, Sorry no Snowy’s this year. We were unable to come to an agreement with the Canadian government over our trapping methods.

New this year, the Black-Browed Albatross, usually a long oceanic flier but we have modified the feather patterns on either wing so they simply loop around your yard in a delightful but small radius circle. (your choice of either left or right wing. Do not choose both wings option as the bird then will just sit on the edge of the pond in a non-flying state) Perfect for those with small garden ponds. 100′ of 600lb. test monofilament “TetherSafe” line available for small extra cost. Monofilament line is transparent so it looks like bird is flying free. Another new choice is the Snail-eating Limpkin, another treat for the indoor or outdoor gardener. We’ve included the Vermillion Flycatcher, great for shut-ins and apartment dwellers. No more flyswatters for you!

A perennial favorite and recently brought back to our collection by special agreement with the Egyptian government, we proudly offer the classic White Ibis, long a favorite of those pert but sassy pyramid builders. Our new and improved variety no longer needs to be near major architecture. (Our Ibis is most comfortable around homes of 7500′ to 12,000 square feet, but have been known to survive around upgraded mobile homes.This selection replaces the Roseate Spoonbill we normally have on hand. Due to a diet change imposed on the spoonbills by the Florida division of wildlife the Roseate Spoonbills’ color has turned from its usual lovely rose color to a muddy dull maroon with green highlights, quite below our standards.

We round out the selections with our usual, Western Tanager, Emu, African Bee eater, and the always popular, Scarlett Macaw.

Bird of the Month Club Membership 12.95 per month plus shipping and handling

Availability: In Stock

Note: Due to fluctuations in the world market, revolts, coups and general unrest, customs intercessions, organized disapproval of our practices, or lack of funds to complete the program we may at our discretion substitute a realistic life-like hand-painted reproduction of the common sparrow, or even a slightly faded photograph of same if our monthly choice of species is unavailable.

 

This is one of our least expensive gift programs selected this year but we’re sure you’ll agree it’s certainly one of our most unique. We can offer this program at such a low price because of the huge volume we do in the licit trade of relocating animals and birds around the globe. You may also wish to explore our trial program of “Ducks of the Month” and new this year “African Predators of the Month” this should be an exciting program. Order soon!! Order Often!!

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

Portrait Of A Roseate Spoonbill

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Portraits are a way of immortalizing someone, a place, or even a thing. Once the central feature of the portrait is established down on canvas it begins to change, it takes on a new life. One filled with mystery, beauty, intrigue,and perhaps hidden meanings. A common person, place or thing becomes just the opposite. It becomes an object of importance way beyond its everyday appearance and is elevated to a level of grandeur it seldom if ever, attains in the real world.

Still life’s are a prime example of this phenomenon. Take a wicker basket, some fruit and a flat table top and in the right hands you have a Caravaggio. The painting titled Basket of Fruit a still life painted in 1599 was one of the earliest still life’s to gain stature and popularity. These common items sitting on a table today as we walked past them would hardly draw our notice, other than to think maybe it’s time they changed the fruit basket. But when this subject is presented with skill and immense artistic talent by a master painter we have a painting that we can look at for hours and still find interest in it. Just as people have been doing since the 16th century with Basket of Fruit.

The portrait of the Roseate Spoonbill above started out as a simple shot taken late in the afternoon. Here it is in its natural original state before any processing began.

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Not a remarkable image in any way, other than it is often difficult to get these particular birds to sit for you for any length of time. It could be used as a documentation photo of the bird in its habitat but would certainly not be considered an art shot by any means. But using the idea that most any subject matter can attain a more enlightened representation by using the magic of computerized processing and you have an entirely new view of Portrait of A Roseate Spoonbill. One that changes your viewpoint of the bird and hopefully makes you reconsider its original mundane presentation.

I believe that once an image is created it stands on its own regardless of what the creation process was. In this case a drab image was transformed into a vivid exciting image that draws you into it and hopefully gives you pleasure as you take in a Portrait of A Roseate Spoonbill.

 

 

Midnight In The Marsh

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Deep in the backwaters of the marsh where the wild things live, strange events take place. A late feeding Roseate Spoonbill is working the edge of the reeds, sweeping its large bill back and forth along the estuaries bottom hoping for a quick meal as the moon breaks through the clouds illuminating it. This is a particularly dangerous place to be after dark. The whole marsh can be dangerous but this stretch happens to be on a channel where the slow flowing water enters from the Gulf and as such is a natural highway for the large scaly predators that glide quietly along looking its length looking for that unsuspecting meal.

There is little sound on a calm windless night here in the marsh other than the occasional call of a bird settling in for the night, or the soft susurrations of the long slender reeds rubbing together, their quietest murmuring barely breaking the silence as the sluggish water moves them to and fro.

There is one sound however that all of the wading birds learn to listen for and that is the sound of a powerful tail rippling back and forth just beneath the surface of the water propelling its owner forward in an otherwise silent glide. There is little to see in the dark water as the perfectly camouflaged predator patrols the channel. The eddies formed by the tails movement drift into the reed’s edge causing a slight rustling sound slightly louder than normal. If it weren’t for the occasional low popping sound from the bubbles formed by the rapidly swirling eddies, little whirlpools caused by the powerful tail whipping back and forth, this midnight killing machine would be totally silent.

You don’t grow up into an adult here unless you’ve mastered the skills necessary to stay alive. The spoonbill, nervous at being alone, is hyper-vigilant and at the first slight echo of anything out of the ordinary takes flight for a safer roost, its feeding done for the night. The gator pauses for a brief moment, listening to the sound of the spoonbills departure, he’s not worried about missing this one opportunity, he knows that there are other places where the birds feels safe and roost too close to the water’s edge. He’ll feed tonight. It just won’t be on Roseate Spoonbill.

Night Flight

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Night time in the back waters. Frogs are calling, insects are buzzing, the reeds slowly brush together with a soft rustling sound only slightly louder than the water moving through the channel. This is night in the sloughs. Walking carefully along the wooden planks of the walkways that reach out into the back waters of the Gulf of Mexico, seeing only by moonlight, listening intently for the hiss of an alligator, or the quiet call of a nesting bird, when a misstep causes a plank to creak and suddenly there is a burst of movement as a Roseate Spoonbill takes flight.

It is nearly fully dark with a half-moon barely illuminating the water, too dark really for pictures, but instinct takes over, the camera is raised automatically and a shot is taken. Hopefully there is enough moonlight to catch it. There is no time for camera adjustments or thought about how to take the shot just get it in the viewfinder and press the shutter. There is an immediate reaction as amused you think, “No way that’s turning out, reflexes or not, you’re not getting that shot. “.

Perhaps, I didn’t. According to the photo rule makers who decide how you must take a perfect image, whether it is a good image or not according to the way they see things depends a lot on whether you follow their rules. I guess I tend not to. To me the emotion and feeling of the image is more important than the rules of thirds, or exact focus. Does it grab you or not, that’s the key for me. However you personally view it that’s the way it looked and felt that warm muggy evening on the Gulf of Mexico. What I remember was the sound, the burst of color, and the moonlight on the water. It’ll work for me until I can take a better one.