Cool Stuff You Missed This Weekend: Extreme Raptors

Having spotted the coolest poster ever downtown last week, a few of us animal enthusiasts on Sunday afternoon did some day-drinking and trekked up to Hamilton Heights’ Riverbank State Park to see the coolest menagerie of killer birds currently on tour in the continental United States. And let me tell you, EXTREME RAPTORS: CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF, even at $12 and after missing the first ten minutes, did not disappoint. These were some big, badass birds of prey. I know because the half of the audience made up of small children was ducking for cover and sobbing into parents’ shoulders as the falcons and hawks demonstrated their dive-bombing techniques.

There was a particularly gruesome moment when the same snowy owl that played Hedwig in the Harry Potter films swooped over the (sadly sparse) gymnasium crowd to messily devour a dead mouse. A lot of these birds are in movies, it seems—the MC and head raptor-handler for the evening mentioned that he had trained Mordecai from The Royal Tenenbaums, only to then remark that the falcon had passed away years ago. This after describing why a vulture’s head was small and bald: “so he can stick it inside a skeleton or rotting carcass and not get stuck.” That’s right, NOTHING IS SUGARCOATED AT THE EXTREME RAPTORS SHOW.

The raptor handler’s wife and daughter assisted ably in the entire performance, which was beset by technical difficulties—though they did manage to play DJ Darude’s “Sandstorm” at one point—only occasionally eliciting a dark comment like “Hey, I used to be married to you.” Oh, how uncomfortable it got at times! Well, do this once every two hours all weekend and nerves are bound to fray. What’s important is that the screech owl did screech—directly into the microphone.

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