It’s a movie scene not quickly forgotten: A woman, standing in a phone booth, is surrounded by menacing ravens, throwing themselves at the glass until it cracks.

Forty-six years later, Tippi Hedren recalls the filming of that movie with a fondness that almost seems unfitting for one of the most iconic and terrifying scenes in cinematic history.

“I think it’s lovely,” Hedren said from her home in California. “But the expression on her face is far too pleasant. It’s neat though, she has all these ravens attacking her dress and her hat.”

Hedren still makes the occasional appearance in movies and on television, recently appearing in an episode of “CSI” on CBS, but most of her time is dedicated to her crusade to make it illegal to keep large cats as pets.

To that end, she has created Shambala, a 72-acre preserve in Acton, Calif., where 65 lions, tigers, lynx and other large cats live. A 501c3 organization, Shambala is a $75,000-per-month operation where the cats live and are cared for, full time, by Hedren and her staff.

The cats that surround her home have been rescued from people who thought it would be neat to have a big cat as a pet, Hedren said. Once people realize that the adorable tiger cub they bought off Craigslist or from some animal trader isn’t the cute and cuddly kitten they brought home and could kill or seriously injure them, the question of what to do when them sometimes meets with tragic consequences.

One of her cats was found walking through the streets of town after his original owner realized he couldn’t afford to take care of the shaggy-maned Stevie, a large lion, Hedren said. Stevie came to Shambala from Branson, Mo.

Stevie’s one of the lucky ones, however. Big cats have been rescued from far worse conditions.

One man in California had 90 cats that he couldn’t afford to keep, so he would feed them the occasional piece of road kill that died near his home. When game wardens eventually visited his home, they discovered tigresses so weak and malnourished that they couldn’t feed their cubs. Dozens of dead cubs were found stuffed in a freeze. Others, still alive, were being kept in an air conditioning vent.

Hedren began her love affair with large cats while in Africa, where she and her then-husband came across a house, previously owned by a game warden, which was overtaken by lions when the house was vacated during the rainy season. The pride that claimed the house grew to be one of the largest in Africa, Hedren said, and she was captivated by the animal’s beauty and power.

Shambala is an animal sanctuary, meaning it can take in animals removed from their owners’ homes. The animals are not to be bred for more animals or used for performances of any kind. They are visited by veterinarians, fed (an average of 500 pounds of meat is needed there every day for the 65 cats) and have nearly free run of the preserve. School children take occasional trips to visit the preserve and tourists can pay $3,000 for an overnight stay, complete with gourmet meals.

But Hedren’s dedication to the animals doesn’t stop there. She has already successfully teamed up with Senators Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.), John Ensign (R-Nev.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) and U.S. Reps. Howard McKeon (R-Calif.) and George Miller (D-Calif.) to get the Captive Wild Safety Act passed, which was signed by President George Bush in December 2003.

Now, the same week that Hedren will be making an appearance at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, she will be introducing a second bill, “A Federal Ban on Breeding the Exotic Feline for Personal Possession,” which would make it illegal to keep big cats as pets or to breed them for sale. Hedren had started working on the bill a few years ago, with the help of the late U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.). She is now working with U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), who will introduce the bill May 7 or 8.

“I’m very certain it will pass,” she said, given the amount of attention paid to the attack on Las Vegas performer Roy Horn and the attack earlier this year by a trained chimpanzee on a woman in Connecticut. People are talking more about what kind of animals should be kept as pets and which need to be left alone in the wild, she said.

In recent years, lions and tigers have mauled at least 570 people and killed 37, she said, accidents and deaths that wouldn’t have happened if the animals hadn’t been kept as pets.

She understands why people think they want to keep these cats as pets. As cubs, they’re adorable and look more like stuffed animals than dangerous ones.

“In a split second, they can kill you,” she said. “Out in the wild, their job is to take out the old, sick and lame animals. Unfortunately, these beautiful creatures have hurt so many people who want to keep them as pets. It’s unnecessary and insane to try and keep these animals as pets.”

Hedren will be happy to answer questions about her animal activism when she visits Lorton, but she will also be happy to talk about her film career, which started with “The Birds” in 1963. It was her first film and her introduction to Alfred Hitchcock, who would cast Hedren in other films.

Most recently, Hedren was in an episode of the forensic crime show “CSI,” which aired in December. Hedren still acts, at least in part, to pay for the upkeep of Shambala.

In addition to the wild animals who surround her home, Hedren said she has several domestic cats which live in her house as well, named for some of the actors she’s worked with over the years: Marlon Brando, Sean Connery, Robert Taylor, Antonio Banderas and her daughter Melanie Griffith.

“They come out to Shambala when they have the chance, but we’re all so busy,” Hedren laughed.

While in Lorton, Hedren will receive the inaugural Workhouse Lifetime Achievement in the Arts, honoring her work in film and television and her efforts to help animals.

It will join her collection of awards, which include a Golden Globe and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The Workhouse Arts Center is welcoming Hedren as a part of its ongoing film festival, a monthly event that pairs a film with a discussion, typically with someone either associated with the film or with extensive knowledge of the topic discussed in the film. Hedren will give a short presentation after the film and then answer some questions, said Joey Wallen, director of performing arts and film at the Workhouse. This will be the third event for the Film Institute, which officially kicked off with a series of classes about film and animation in March.

“We’re so excited that Tippi’s coming to talk with us about her career, especially after viewing ‘The Birds,’ which could be what she’s best known for,” Wallen said. “This is exactly the kind of event we have in mind for the Film Institute. She was there for the film, obviously, so we’re hoping she can maybe clear up some misconceptions people might have about various things, like how the birds were added into some scenes in editing and what it was like to work with Alfred Hitchcock.”

But it is the combination of the professional and the personal loves of Hedren’s that made her the perfect candidate for the award, which will be given out on an annual basis and made by one of the glass artists associated with the Workhouse. The award will be individually made each year for the recipient, Wallen said, but because it is handmade, it will be slightly different for each honoree.

“Tippi has always done such great things for the animals. She’s trying to create solutions to problems that don’t necessarily exist yet, and we think that’s wonderful,” he said.

People who want the chance to meet Hedren up close and personal can purchase a ticket for a VIP event, which features hors d’oeuvres, wine and conversation before the film screening. Otherwise, popcorn and other refreshments will be available during the movie, followed by the discussion.

Other events in the future will include a viewing of the documentary “In the Shadow of the Moon,” followed by a discussion with a NASA scientist, Wallen said. The Film Institute will have a different theme each month and the speakers will be determined by the film. Wallen promises big news of upcoming events within the next few weeks, including a local filmmaker showcase in August and more information on a Bollywood themed night, scheduled for November.

With a little over six months of operations under her belt, Workhouse executive director Sharon Mason is pleased with the Lorton Arts Foundation’s success so far.

“We’re very pleased to have Ms. Hedren coming to visit us and to be able to give her this award,” Mason said. “She’s not only a famous actress, she’s very classy and her heart’s always been in the right place.”"