Moments like these make all the stress and hard work worthwhile.
Tino, a scarlet macaw, yells at (or even bites) visitors who get too close. But he's also willing to talk and sing to guests of the nature center as he bobs his head up and down. He arrived at the center in 2001 after a Kansas University student who was moving to go to graduate school gave him up. "What do you do with a gigantic parrot that makes a huge amount of noise and a mess and is going to live forever? They live 80 years," said nature education supervisor Marty Birrell.
Savannah, a 3-year-old Maine coon cat, is the resident "mouser" at Prairie Park Nature Center. She was brought on board to help with a rodent problem the facility was having. Nature education supervisor Marty Birrell picked Savannah among the cats at the Lawrence Humane Society because she was the one who reacted when Birrell waved a dead mouse in front of their cages. On top of being a good mouse killer, Savannah is great with kids. "I swear, she's the most popular animal in the building," Birrell said.
Robert Walls, of Lawrence, is down to 205 pounds after once tipping the scales at more than 960.