23 Sep A Date with Dagmar
Earlier this year, we had one of the things San Diegans prize the most: a visit from Dagmar. Dagmar Midcap is a weathercaster with NBC Channel 7 San Diego, and a popular one at that. Originally from Canada,
Dagmar had a much loved role as a Better Mornings weather and traffic anchor for a CBS affiliate in Atlanta before coming to San Diego. She is well known for her enthusiastic personality, her love of animals, and her amazing red hair.
Admittedly, I had only heard about how amazing Dagmar is through zookeeper friends at the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. I had no idea of her impact via NBC Channel 7 San Diego, not owning a television myself. So when a mutual friend asked if Dagmar could come visit our birds, I didn’t even realize that meant to film specifically for her segment entitled “Down to Earth with Dagmar,” and found out the night before while out on a date with my better half. Talk about being ill-prepared! Film shoots can be stressful: you’d be amazed how difficult it can be to convince animals – especially free flying birds – to behave exactly the way they do every day once you put a fancy camera in front of them. Some videographers have a carefully scripted story in mind, and when “normal” is well, unsurprisingly abnormal, stress only makes the situation worse.
Perhaps they are reacting from their handlers’ anxiety and tension with the cameras rolling, but the day Dagmar came, despite vehicle trouble and all of the things you would think would upset our day, everyone – feathered and or un – was at ease, and the shoot filled our hearts with an overwhelming sense of joy.
The thing that is very clear about Dagmar is that she truly is an animal lover, both from the side of wanting to be friends with all animals, love and be loved by them, as well as caring deeply for their larger role in the environment. This was an extraordinarily refreshing surprise, getting to be with someone who was brimming with enthusiasm to share the stories that make our birds so special, be as close to them as possible, and at the same time be respectful and ask how to best interact with the animals. We should have known we were in for a real treat when Kipling, our charismatic Southern Ground Hornbill, offered Dagmar a gift of a rock as soon
as she arrived, something I have never seen him do. From there, we were completely transfixed when we took him out for a hike, and he turned into a giant puddle of feathers, nuzzling and preening her ponytail. It was a love affair of classic Hollywood proportions. We talked falconry, conservation, watched birds lose themselves in flight, and altogether had a completely blissful animal-filled afternoon.
“Down to Earth with Dagmar” highlights many of the wonderful activities that San Diegans can get involved with in the community that gets us outside and learning about the world around us. San Diego is designed for outdoor living, and we are extremely lucky to be surrounded with a wealth of wildlife; in fact, we have more biodiversity than any other county in North America, and as well as a vast number of rare and endangered species. Taking an active role in these activities plays a huge part in the conservation and preservation of ecosystems far and wide: participation builds understanding, appreciation, long-lasting memories, and early childhood experiences that inspires us to create habits that benefit the planet as a whole. Whether we have inspirational leaders like an over the top Aussie in the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, the joyful academic glee in Sir David Attenborough, the unconventional wit and untouchable knowledge of Bill Nye the Science Guy, or a passionate local personality like Dagmar Midcap, we can’t help but be drawn to these role models that help build connections and uplift us to the challenges in preserving our gorgeous natural resources around the world.
We could tell how powerful Dagmar’s influence in the community not just in the volume of calls that came in after our segment aired, but the more importantly, in the way people would talk about her when they came to visit our ranch. Her infectious enthusiasm, compassion, and curiosity for the world around
her is not something that one can counterfeit, and in order to exact the change that is needed in order to teach through modeling and inspiration, there is absolutely no substitute for authenticity and generosity of spirit. Having been to Dagmar’s house, complete with chickens, parrots, dogs et al scampering throughout and sent home with a carton of fresh eggs, I can’t help but feel invigoration by her passion, hope for the generations to come, and grateful for the friendship that she has shown me and my beloved winged wonders. As Kipling can attest, it truly was a date to remember.
You can watch highlights of our birds with Dagmar:
Click here for Part 1: Down to Earth with Dagmar
Click here for Part 2: Down to Earth with Dagmar