So the past week I spent my time at the aviary working under Chris in the penguin routine. This section of the area includes not only the African penguins but also the two eagles exhibits, an off site white dove yard, toucans and the various other birds through out our walkways and entrances areas. Unlike all of the other routines, this one involves the most chores/work outdoors. I love working outside and have experienced rain, and recently blistering hot days of pushing way above 100 degrees (which in thick rubber waders/boots or the quarantine jumpsuit, is very uncomfortable). My supervisors keep an eye on me and constantly check on my water intake. Before this week I thought it was wonderful to have a can of soda with me...well that was short lived. It's two Nalgenes of water for me from now on.
Now the eagles exhibits are what I would call, my most hesitant areas. Our bald eagles are unable to fly. Both Liberty and Bell were injured in the wild, thus spend most of their time on the ground in low perches. No netting is actually required above this outdoor exhibit because they wouldn't be able to get out anyways. There is no shift house, so all work, cleaning, feeding, is carried out in direct contact space. Of course there has been a protocol laid down about working with these two large birds of prey. They are capable of charging and clawing so distance is a must. Slow movement and a cautious line of vision is necessary at all times. If I am washing windows or hosing off plants, every minute or so I turn and make sure I am not in between them or cornered. It is better to have them both together and on the other side than split and all around me. They do move into a specific corner during cleaning to get away from the hose, so aggression is usually dispersed that way long as they are let alone. I am in the eagles' territory so I have to respect "their" boundaries not my own. If I cross paths with where they want to be, I move to a different spot, it's that simple. Peace keeping will never be acquired if I purposefully attempt to displace them from their own home.
Looking forward to another week, and also the new mix up my schedule has between the penguins and marsh room routines. Makes it all a little less repetitive that way which is a good thing. Now just have my fingers crossed that this heat will cool down a bit before I melt.