The "Wings To Soar Program - Live Birds of Prey" was once again a packed house in the ballroom at the Lake Guntersville State Park Saturday afternoon, even with a break out performer.
The program itself, based out of Trenton, Georgia, has been coming to Guntersville for at least 35 years and is hosted by John Stokes and Dale Kernahan.
"This is an educational program for youth and anyone who is an enthusiast," says Mike Ezell, a Naturalist. "They have been caring and educating for close to 70 years now and they travel all over the Southeast."
The hour-long, family friendly show is jam packed with videos, information and edge of your seat live bird action.
"We are so thankful to have them here," said Amanda Glover, reservationist at the Guntersville State Park. "They have been having shows here since about 2008. They do a fantastic job of presenting the information and the shows are always high-energy."
Audiences are introduced to show birds: Barn Owl, Bob; Screech Owl, Buddy; Hoot Owl, Artie; Sparrow Hawk, Gilbert; Red-Tail Hawk, Cody; Buzzard, Casey; Harris Hawk, Zeke and heart-stopper, Osceola, a 39-year-old bald eagle.
During Saturday afternoon's performance, while John Stokes, one of the Co-Directors of the Wings to Soar Program, tried to do a trick with Sparrow Hawk Gilbert, where he flew across the audience and landed on his hand, Gilbert had a little trick of his own. He decided to avoid Stokes altogether and watch the remainder of the show from the top of the ceiling.
"Birds do have minds of their own," Stokes joked after numerous failed attempts to get Gilbert down from the ceiling. "I guess he didn't like mackerel."
Books and book signing are available after the shows for $10 and all funds go towards the program.
Two more shows are scheduled for this weekend at the Guntersville State Park Lodge in the ballroom. The shows are scheduled for 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. and are free to the public.