The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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A bird in the class is worth 2 at the zoo

By Tiffany Thorne

Just to have a chance to interact with strange birds, students endured the shrill squawking of a falcon’s song competing with a recording of John Denver’s “Eagle and the Hawk.”

Falcons from Skymasters and wild hatch owls from Hogle Zoo were presented Wednesday at the U, thanks to the donations of Fred Montague, a professor of biology at the U, and his students. In addition to the falcons and owls, Manny Antonacci, a biology professor, brought jungle fowl and waterfowl that he raises, along with ducklings that the students were able to hold.

Montague has held the bird show for the past four years in his class, Biology 2400, earning the class a reputation as one of the more interesting at the U. Students are usually able to see a lot of bones and photos, but no live animals, which is why the class is so amazing, said Elizabeth Bergin, a junior in environmental studies.

During the show, students are able to touch the birds and get closer to animals that are usually off-limits. Montague said he recognizes the need for these experiences.

It’s a great opportunity to give city people a chance to interact more intimately with wild life, Antonacci said.

As students made their way to their seats and birds of prey stood noisily by, Montague sat before the class and picked apart vomit that came from one of the owls until the music ended.
With the students in their seats, Montague paced at the front of the class, rattling a box of dollars and coins the students had donated, thanking his class for their contribution to the bird show they were about to see.

The students show gratitude for the unique experience by writing thank-you letters to him, Antonacci said.

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