MINNEAPOLIS — Before we begin, let's get on the same page about Zoom meetings here.
"Zoom has just become a way of life," Dr. Julia Ponder said. Ponder is the Executive Director of the Raptor Center in St. Paul. "We're grateful for the technology and Zoom fatigue is real."
Even Ponder, isn't immune to 'Zoom Fatigue.'
"Well Zoom Fatique--there probably is some medical term but for me it's just the mental weariness that comes with not having the immediate social interaction," Ponder said. "You see people and you miss stuff. You never move. the Hollywood Squares model, it's just tiring."
So the center decided to...feed two birds with one scone, by allowing people like you and me to host a raptor on your Zoom call. Boredom = banished. Birds = entertained.
"They're perched out in the space that is very comfortable for them, [a place] that they're used to," Ponder said. "There's a handler there for 15 minutes or so to answer questions as well as to adjust the camera. And the bird just gets to do its normal thing and they tend to watch things."
If you're lucky, they'll pitch into the meeting too.
"The eagle, when she starts yakking at you, you'll hear," Ponder said. "We'll adjust the volume for you."
So if you're into helping out the Raptor Center, or just into preventing any more of those awkward silences during conference calls, let this idea take flight.
"We of course are not doing as much earned income as we used to, we can't do the programming, our facility is not open," Ponder said. "So we're very dependent on the community that have supported us philanthropically, and very much missing our volunteers."
If you are interested in having an eagle, a falcon, kestrel or any other raptor available at the Raptor Center join your next conference call, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to this website for more information.