Friday, June 18, 2010

Flying solo

Good afternoon,
This week started off quite interesting...Sunday was suppose to be an easy day for me, or so I thought...My task was to observe both of the ed talks and help out with the first Wild party that were taking place that day. Well the person in charge for the day interpreted the schedule as me doing the first ed talk sense she had to supervise the party. Mind you I have not done an Ed talk yet and I have only observed one. So I packed up the broad winged hawk and made my walk to the back of the visitor center after my announcements. The talk went well I thought, lucky for me I only had four adults and three kids that showed up.

The talk was only 10 minutes long, and after returning the hawk to the aviary I went back to the party. Wild parties aren't really that bad either, just supervising the party in the building and giving a Wildlife Encounter to the guest. The first party was a very small one, 6 kids and 12 adults, barely half showing up. We ended up getting some pizza and cupcakes out of the whole thing which was nice.

Monday was a really busy day, with my first job being handling. All went well being I didn't have to handle ALL of the animals. The way handling works is certain animals are scheduled for certain days. For example the 8ft long female boa is only handled on Wednesdays, where as the guinea pigs and ferret are handled every day. This way all of the animals are on a regular schedule of some sort.

After handling came my solo animal care run in the visitor center, which ended up taking me the rest of the time I was there. A lot of time was cut down from the fact we had still not received any crickets, so that meant no feeding. Most of my time consisted of scrubbing water dishes and misting the tanks. I left the mammals for last on my list of animal care, and that was due to them still being in the break room. That meant I had to prep all of the diets, which included catching fish for the mudpuppies and mealworms for the hedgehog, and carrying it all from the visitors center to the breakroom. Hedgehog was placed in a separate carrier first and given his mealworms so he could do his business while I worked on the rest of the animals. Other than that the only other special thing that was done was the Chinchillas were given their dust baths. Animal care was almost miserable that day, not because all of the work but the broke A/C which left the building so hot....

I had a day off and then came back on Wednesday for a few things. First thing we were briefed on all of the different education programs we might have to help with, most of them one we had already seen. After that I had round one handling again of the lower levels. I actually held the Hedgehog without gloves this day, and boy did he decide to be a mover. This was also the female boas handing day...She's a big girl, not so heavy when you first take her out but gets heavy after every minute out. I mean she only weights about 25 pounds...

The A/C was working this day too, which meant me and Kyle got the fun job of moving all of the mammals and their cages back. No problem went you have cart to wheel them on. We got the occasional kid peeking in wondering if the Hedgehog was a Porcupine. Those kids always make me laugh. We kept the Visitor Center open for an hour, watching the random people walking in and freaking out about the snakes. Also the few people who couldn't find the frogs in the tanks or think the pine snake is a rattlesnake. It's interesting on how creative people can be. My last task was my solo run of the education building animal care. We obtained some crickets so I was able to give the Bearded dragon some. Leonora also had the ferret out running while I was cleaning, so I got to hear her tell the ferret to get out of the fridge or to stop knocking things over.

My easy day was my solo run of aviary care on Thursday. I wondered why they scheduled me for two hours to do the aviary until I looked at the animal cards and realized it was perch scrubbing day too. So before I went off to the building I prepped the diets. It had also happened to be bird of prey diets, and for those who don't know bird of prey diet consist of any kind of ground anything the factor could find. It comes packages like a fresh sausage kind of...It wasn't that disgusting at first, but the longer I made the balls the worse it got to where I was starting to feel a little sick.

I walked over to the aviary and started to rake and scrub perches. The owls cages were fairly clean, it was the hawks that were the worst. It was almost like they were trying to aim for the walls...Lucky for me Lara and Nadia were doing handling so I didn't have to contend with the Red Tailed Hawk trying to fly all over the place. I did have to deal with the Spectacled owl, but I think her problem was more so the noise then me being there. Turkey bird was well behaved for me, I think he's still afraid of me which I didn't mind. Next was to scrub and replace water dishes, and then distribute food. In the end I was done 15 minutes early, so I took the one eyed Screech owl out for a walk.
So far with my internship I have learned one major thing...I want to work with birds, more specifically birds of prey. Coming into the Care and Ed. program and my internship I wanted to work with large cats and canines. Though after about a month of being around all of the birds I would much rather work at a bird of prey rehabilitation center that does programs. I have come to have a great appreciation for these animals that I have never had before. So everything I am learning in regards to the birds is helpping me towards my next possible career.

Next week they're sticking us with Ed talks and more solo runs, so I'm sure I'll have much more to talk about.

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