Saturday, June 18, 2011

Programs for the kiddies

Now that the farewell tours have slowed down our programs are starting to pick up. Needless to say it's never really a dull day at Horizon Wings. This week Jeanne has been gone on vacation so it has been Mary-beth, Brenda, and I at work. Monday started off the week very odd. I pulled into the drive way and things just seemed out of place. The van was in a different spot and there was a ton of random things near the basement door. As I got out of the car Mary-beth greeted me, informing me that she was unable to feed any of the birds yet because her basement had flooded. There was a good 2-3 inches of water on the ground because one of the pipes wasn't clamped on tightly enough when it was put in. Luckily none of the freezers with the mice and rats in them were ruined. That would have been a very hard blow to us. So I picked up the food bucket and went off while Mary-beth waited for Alan and plumber to show up. I went and fed the resident birds first. Before I fed the Red-Tails I worked a little bit with the one in training. Instead of training the birds on food both Horizon wings and Wind over wings works more on trust. Start off with getting the bird used to you being there and being touched with a feather, and eventually working your way up to having the bird on the glove. The one I'm working with is pretty good about being touched with the feather, but he's in the defensive posture the whole time. Not aggressively but still.

After feeding all the residents I went in and sat with Atka for a few minutes and talked to him. I took my keys off my belt loop and attached the aviary keys onto them and hung them up in the atrium so they didn't make any noise to startle him. Though when I was leaving I stupidly forgot to collect them and ended up locking them in the atrium. Thank goodness for extra keys. After I got my keys back I went and fed the new Kestrel. He's in pretty bad shape, and his wing was amputated was shorter than it should have. But he should make a good recovery and grow all of his missing feathers back. I went on to handle Chico and Athena a bit to keep myself occupied while Mary-beth was getting stuff situated. Before I left me and Brenda we asked to take up the carpet in Chappy's old aviary. We got as much as we could, though one carpet was screwed down underneath the perch. I was super glad that I had a Leatherman so I could use pliers to get out the staples.

Wednesday we had a program in town so we were in no rush to get ready. I worked with the Red-tailed for a few minutes before we left. The program was at a small montessori school of about 12 students. We brought the Broad-winged hawk, the Kestrel, Barn owl, and the Peregrine falcon. It went well, but an hour long program was way too long for a group of kids their age. That's one thing I remember from all of my schooling. The thing we were most amazed by was that Chico didn't projectile poop in the middle of the program.

Thursday I was up at about 4 am so I could get ready and make it out to Horizon wings wicked early. Mary-beth needed Brenda and I to get ready being she didn't know if she was going to be able to get out early. So before Brenda got there I went around and fed the birds we weren't taking out on the program. Then Brenda arrived and we got all of the birds together. It was a 2 hour drive out to Stamford across the state. The school we were going to was a green school that was absolutely beautiful. It was a huge group of kids that we were presenting too. Though it was kind of nice because they gave the kids the chance to leave if they were done sitting there . That way they weren't making a whole bunch of noise from being bored. The majority of them stayed. We even had a little girl draw two small pictures of some hawks to give to us as a thank you gesture. She was super smart and knew a bunch of the Raptors scientific names. When we got back we clipped Silos talons, in which I got to restrain her. Then I got the joy of taking off her jesses, which was interesting. She was very calm and patience with me. Our last task was to clean out Spirits carrier, in which I got to hold Spirit. He did a bunch of little head bobs, and boy was he feisty!

I'm glad I'm getting that chance to train some birds this summer. It's more or less learning to read the birds behavior, which is a very important trait for anyone working with animals. It's also learning how fast or slow you can work with an animal to gain its trust.


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