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Monday, May 4, 2009
Behind The Scenes

By Laura Doering, Editor of BIRD TALK and BirdChannel.com
Join in on Laura's fun and experiences of bird ownership, and share in her adventures as the editor of BIRD TALK in Wayward Feathers.

Behind The Scenes of America's Family Pet Expo
Courtesy Laura Doering
I was certain Harry was about to lose a digit before he got hold of a paring knife.

Working on a magazine like Bird Talk sometimes involves going outside the realm of writing, re-writing, copy editing and picking photos — basically all the things on a To-Do list that involve spending time in front of a computer or marking up paper. Occasionally, the company “volunteers” us editors to test our public speaking skills.

Case in point, the America’s Family Pet Expo. Bird Talk associate editor Jessica Pineda, BirdChannel editor, Harry Robbins and I were asked to put our heads together to come up with a 7-10 minute presentation on making fun, homemade toys for pet birds. All three of us are proud of our Mr. Apple Head toy, so that one was a no-brainer. Then we came up with another fun, low cost toy, simply called the “30-Second Toy” because that’s how long I estimated it would take to make. (Stay tuned for its “world-premiere” on this site.)

This was a three-day expo, so to be fair, we each signed up for a day to do a presentation. Harry was up first, which meant that he was the guinea pig, and Jessica and I could learn from his mistakes. Actually, his only “mistake” was that Harry didn’t have a knife on hand to cut up Mr. Apple Head for his presentation. An hour before his call-time, I got his frantic call, “Can you bring a knife?” Jessica and I were holding down the fort, prepping the July issue of Bird Talk for the printer. As I put some pep into my copy-editing-step, Jessica searched the office for a knife. She found one in the coffee area … the giant office birthday cake cutting knife.

We jumped into my car and headed to the Expo. (Fortunately, the gate personnel didn’t check bags going in!) We delivered the knife to Harry 15-minutes before his call time. Now, imagine trying to cut out an apple core and make holes for Mr. Apple Head’s eyes, nose and mouth using a long knife meant for slicing rather than paring.

I was certain Harry was about to lose a digit when the DogChannel editor (our sister site), who we were sharing the stage with, matter-of-factly pulled out a paring knife saying, “Would this help?” Mr. Apple Head was prepped, and Harry made his stage debut on behalf of BirdChannel.

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