Sunday, July 10, 2011

Does that bird have a mouth?

This week has been a very eventful week with programs just about every day that I worked. Wednesday we drove all the way out to Stamford for two back to back programs at the same place. The first group was pre-K to 2nd grade and the second group was 2nd thru about 8th. I was a little nervous about this one because both groups had upwards of 100-120 or so kids, plus we had to use a microphone! I've never used one for a program before other than for my environmental challenge project, so it took getting used too. It also doesn't help when you like to talk with your hands. Though for the first program we shortened it to about 35 minutes for the age group and I had to present Chico and the environment. I feel like I started off a little rough with Chico, but when I went on the environment next I felt more comfortable. We had a short 10 minute break until the next group came in and then we were off with our talk again. For the second talk I did only Chico and it went a lot smoother. I was so tired this way I was actually falling asleep on the car ride there and back.

Thursday we did our cleaning day due to the busyness of the rest of the week. Me and Jeanne did our regular cleaning routine of raking, watering, and scrubbing. Kyle showed up an hour later and got there for the tail end of cleaning. After cleaning I had the chance to jess up Silo which took no time at all. She's such a polite bird once you get ahold of her. While I had her out I practiced my Emyrs talk being I was to present him at the program on Friday. Our next task was to clean out Spirits carrier. We decided to let Kyle hold him being he was one of the only ones who haven't so far. Only problem is Spirit decided to nip Kyle and his reaction was to open his hand and let go of the jesses. Lucky for me he stayed in between two carriers so it was easier to grab him. We also grabbed Emyrs to clip his nails and went to check the Red-tailed feet. Jeanne grabbed the first, adult Red-tailed and check to see that his feet were looking better since we switched out some perches. Then it was my turn to go and get the baby hawk.

This is when I learned a very important lesson, you can never be too careful about what your doing. I grabbed the baby and had each leg in one of my hands, but he was facing me and he needed to be facing away. So I was able to switch one hand and held him as far out as I could so that I could grab the other leg. He almost got my arm when he swung around to perch of my glove. When I reached in to grab his other leg he reached out and tagged me on my face. For those who don't know, when an animal tags you it means that they either got you with their claws, talons, or bit you. The whole thing happened so fast that I didn't really think he got me nearly as bad as he did. Lucky for me he missed my eye and only got me with one talon, but it was still enough to cut my face a bit to start bleeding. The important fact about the situation is I didn't freak out, I kept cool and continued to restrain him. I thought I had the bird far enough away but you can never be to careful. Like Alan said, next time just let him go and try again. I learned my lesson and that's something I never want to happen again. These birds are powerful creatures and need to be respected at all times. The minute you even start to get too comfortable in what your doing is the time you'll mess up.

And that wasn't even the end of the day! After I had a chance to clean up Jeanne and I had to drive down to Pfizor for our rodent pick up. It was a nice bonding time and we were able to get there just on time. Once we got back it was packing time. We had to take all of the mice and rats from the three boxes we picked up and place them into freezer bags for storage. It took us about an hour to get everything all packed up.

Friday was another program day, and another 2 hour ride. We were doing a program for a library that Hope Douglas had done programs for 18 years, so we had big shoes to fill. It was an extremely varied group from young children to adults. I had to present Emyrs for the first time to this group, and it went well except one thing. I was talking about his weight, and it's a natural thing to kinda lift the bird up and down, but with Emyrs that’s not good cause he has a balancing issues. I just glad he didn't bate, he just turned around with his back facing the crowd.

Yesterday was a fun day because we were at Riverfest. We arrived at 3 in the the afternoon and got everything set up with enough time to do a quick walk around. At 4 we started to take the birds out, only 3 at a time, and cycled them every 30 minutes. That way all of the birds, and handlers, got a short break from the crowds. I handled Herc for the day and switched of with Rose every other cycle. Rose is one of Hope's old volunteers who's trying to start off on her own. Herc did well but could only stay out for 10-15 minutes at a time because the music was stressing him out. It's amazing at meet and greets how little people know about these birds. We stayed there until 8pm in which we packed up and left. We wanted to be out of there before 9pm when the fireworks we going to be set off. Over all it went very well.

After a crazy week of programs and lessons learned I have a day to rest before I start all over again. Though I only have 5 weeks until my internship is over and school starts shortly after.


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