Our canine characters, Swift, Howler and Inola have been getting a lot of the attention lately. We didn’t realize just how well received they’d be.
In addition to these lovable foxes and wolves, we currently have two bird characters, both of which have been involved in programs years before we had formally put together our Animal School programs. They are Kele Kestrel and Talon the Hawk.
Kele was built by two friends (Dan made the bodysuit, Erin from Keystone made the head) and debuted in early 2010. Kele was to serve as a talking character for stories and interactive educational events. This project was done in conjunction with Braddock Bay Raptor Research, a group I was and still lending my wing to when I can. Kele’s first event was telling folktales I had written to school groups who came to the Braddock lodge on a chilly winter morning. He made a bigger splash during that spring’s Bird of Prey Days festival, teaming up with some of the area sports mascots to perform an elaborate storytelling session in front of a large audience.
Kele has since appeared at many elementary schools, various bird events at Braddock Bay, the Palmyra Bird Fest, the NY Power Authority Wildlife Festival, the Seneca Park Zoo, and has since become a staple in our Animal School programs. Being the most colorful bird in the group, he’s easy to spot at events.
Our second bird friend is Talon the Hawk. Talon was built by Erin from Keystone Mascots and is fashioned to be a bit more realistic and natural, sporting accurate red tail hawk/coopers hawk type plumage. He debuted as well at Braddock Bay but has attended birthday parties and given presentations to our local Audubon Society.
Kele and Talon at the moment can be interchangeable for Animal School programs, depending on the needs of the program or client. Although, it would make sense to have Kele lead our “Kestrel Simulator” program!
We do have plans to create/develop other bird characters which will include a raven, cockatoo, turkey, an owl, a bald eagle and a robin. We are looking into crowdfunding pages to make this a reality as costume construction sadly is not cheap!
So give us a chirp in the meantime if you’re interested in a visit from one of our feathered friends!
Until next yime, stay tuned and stay wild!