Mayor Rob Ford had a fine day out at the Sportsmen’s Show Thursday morning, Feb. 7 — practicing his fly fishing, testing his skill at an air-rifle range, checking out some powerboats, and learning to get comfortable with various wildlife.
He may have even made a feathered friend for life.
At the end of the hour-long tour of the annual consumer show for the hunting, fishing and outdoor crowd, Ford stopped off at the booth operated by the Canadian Peregrine Foundation, where executive director Mark Nash introduced him to Alexandra, a formidable great horned owl.
Ford started off obviously nervous at the prospect of letting the powerful predator perch on his arm, but after volunteers handed him a leather falconer’s glove and gave him a few basic instructions, Alexandra hopped onto his arm.
According to Nash, Alexandra — like all the birds of prey the foundation brought to the show — has been raised in captivity and while not tame, is conditioned to fit in as comfortably with humans as a wild horned owl would with other owls.
And Alexandra, said Nash, is at a stage in her life where she’s taken it a step further.
“This bird is now in the breeding mode, so she’s out courting human beings,” he said. “They have no interest in their own kind.”
Was she courting the mayor?
“She certainly didn’t want to get off his fist — I think there was some googoo eyes going on,” said Nash.
When asked about his experience with Alexandra the owl, Ford said:
“It was interesting. I never held an owl before. The claws are pretty big, as you saw.”