Scenes from a Book Signing: Pacific Flyway Decoy Association Festival
Kathy and I have always said that the best thing about giving presentations and doing book signings is the interesting people we have the opportunity to meet. Last weekend’s book signing at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s 46th Annual Classic Wildlife Festival certainly validated that notion. Wildlife sculptors from all over California and the western U.S. gathered in Sacramento to showcase their talents.
While we talked to artists and visitors about Badges, Bears, and Eagles and The Game Warden’s Son, blocks of wood were being carved into the likes of kestrels and geese, right before our eyes. All around us were display tables, adorned with exquisitely carved canvasback ducks, shorebirds, trout, saltwater fish, and raptors. One prize-winning osprey was so lifelike, I expected it to fly away; I was amazed by the attention to detail in every wing feather—each one a masterpiece in its own right. The artist told me he had spent hundreds of hours on the entire bird.
Speaking of works of art, Kathy and I have always viewed our raptor species—from the smallest owls to the great and magnificent hawks, falcons, and eagles—as natural works of art. You can imagine our excitement when our friends from the wildlife education organization Hawks, Honkers and Hoots honored us with a surprise visit. Founder Kelli Moulden and Vice President Dr. Carol Standen brought with them a host of avian ambassadors: Murphy, the red-tailed hawk; Bolt, the peregrine falcon; Digger, the burrowing owl; Trek, the Swainson’s hawk; and my favorite, Mr. Whoo-Dini, the pygmy owl. Under permit from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Hawks, Honkers and Hoots not only cares for these injured birds that are unable to be returned to the wild, they put them to work educating Californians about wildlife and conservation issues.
I can’t tell you how touched Kathy and I were to see several longtime Facebook friends—most of whom we had never met—walk through the door: Anthony Maffei, a fire battalion chief from the San Francisco Bay area, has been a loyal friend and supporter of my writing since the first book was released in March of 2013; Bill Davis, a fellow Orland High School alumnus, drove all the way from the Auburn area; and Jerry Morinaka, whom I hadn’t seen in years, came from Stockton. It’s moments like these with countless friends and supporters that have made endless hours of writing and rewriting all worthwhile.
Photos of carvings taken with permission of the artists:
Mike Peters shown carving a brant (goose).
American kestrel carving by Chester Wilcox.