Sunday, June 30, 2013

week of 6/6/13 at Drumlin

So sorry for the delays everyone, my blog posts have to be reviewed by my boss and his boss before I post anything, so it takes a little while.

The week of 6/6/13 was pretty hectic. The interns are all starting to get into a routine where everyone is able to do certain jobs on their own. This was the first time I completed the duck pen cleaning on my own. It was a lot of fun herding them all and misting them with water. It was really hot that Friday so we spent a lot of time hosing animals down. Orville the turkey vulture was brought outside to bask in the sunlight.
Once the ducks were clean I moved on to Pidge the pigeon's cage. She had laid an egg a few days earlier so the staff took it away and give her a wooden one to brood on. She really wasn't happy when I had to move her off of it to clean but I gave her some straw to make a nest with after. She enjoys spending itme foraging for leftover straw from Paddy the Peking duck's cage.
After Pidge I cleaned some of the mammal cages and helped with the mice. There was time before heading over to clean Bird Hill so enrichment ideas for the crows were thrown around. I decided to make a toy for Po; a yogurt cup with layers of fruit separated by newspaper balls. He ignored it at first but eventually had some fun ripping it apart.
Stella the skunk enjoying her clean cage!
It was really hot when we got over to bird hill. Raptors were hosed down and given fresh water to keep their internal temperature in homeostasis.
The day before, Thursday, was a lot of fun because we got to watch the anual cow checkups done at the farm; across the street in the main barn. The cows were given their shots, and checked for any injuries. There were two calves that got a special procedure done. One was tagged on her ear and the other was dehorned through cauterizing around the unformed horn stub. The whole process was really cool to watch.
I also got to see a broad-winged hawk get restrained for a very mild case of bumblefoot. Special gloves are used when restraining as opposed to handling to allow the hawk to associate each with positive or negative connotations.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

My first day at Drumlin Farm

Today was my first official day at the wildlife care section of Drumlin Farm in Lincoln, MA. Drumlin Wildlife Care is responsible for all of the wildlife in the farm and across the street in the sanctuary. Foxes, a fisher, rabbits, woodchucks, red-tailed hawks, and barred owls are just some of the many animals that are taken care of.
My first official day of internship started off with a lot of cage and enclosure cleaning. It was our duty to ensure that all the mammals (the rabbits, the groundhogs, the skunk, mice, and the opossum) were fed and well cared for. We also had to clean the pigeon cage and the four duck pens.
The ducks are cleaned very systematically. There are five ducks and one goose, three pairs total. Mrs. Mallard and the call duck (above) are one mated pair. Louis the Peking duck and JP the Canada goose are two buddies who love spending time together. The last pair, Paddy and a second female mallard (below), enjoy each other's company very much, but unfortunately Paddy tends to get really rough during mating season around the small mallard and rips her head feathers out. This is a natural habit for Peking ducks but because she is more fragile than him she gets hurt. They have to be separated this time of year by a metal gate. 

 Once the ducks were taken care of it was time to move onto the indoor mammals and birds. Drumlin Wildlife Care has 6 main mammals; two woodchucks, two domestic rabbits, an opossum, and a skunk. There are also some cages for breeding mice. Because a majority of the mammals aren't domesticated they all have to be handled carefully and consistently. In Massachusetts captive wild mammals must be euthanize and tested for rabies if an accidental bite occurs. And more often than not a bite is caused by carelessness on the handler's part. Therefore thick gloves are used at all times when moving mammals, they are put in cages when enclosures are cleaned, and great care is taken when moving cages. On nice days when the weather isn't too hot a lot of the indoor animals get to go outside for enrichment in a large enclosure.

 When outside the animals are stimulated with a more natural environment and can romp, dig, and sunbathe; activities that cannot be performed inside.

Birds also live inside the Drumlin Wildlife Care facility. There are two crows (Bebe, seen below and Po), a pigeon, and Paddy's female mallard mate (until mating season is over!). The crows are staff only cleans because they are very social animals and sensitive to new people. Training and interactions have to stay consistent. Pigeon is much more docile (though she still doesn't like me) so cleaning her cage is easier. The female mallard is out in her day pen when we clean her cage. 

After the wildlife care facility cages are clean we head over to Bird Hill to clean out the raptor enclosures. There are two barred owls, a great horned, two red-tailed hawks, two broad-wing hawks, a turkey, and a turkey vulture. We are able to get right in the enclosure with the birds while cleaning and feeding, which is really cool! 
After the birds are cleaned and fed we head back over to do diets. Diet preparation is a nice, relaxing part of the day. Each animal has its own set dietary needs for the afternoon and the morning. Mice play a very large role in diets as almost every carnivore eats them. 

That wraps up my first official day of internship at Drumlin Farm wildlife care. I know I'll have many more great days after this! 


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

RI State Police Internship

My Internship this summer is to help re-accredit the Rhode Island State Police Criminal Investigation Unit. So far my job has been to add paper files into the electronic database. This project is what I will be working on for a while as there's about 70ish years of paper files to be added into the system.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Well the internship season is off to a great start. We currently have 133 students registered for internships throughout the USA and two international students (Isreal and Africa). I've been getting some super updates similar to this one: "Everything is going really well. I have been giving animal shows about four times a week and I love it. I have been working with numerous animal species and I am really learning a lot. I give my first solo zoo on the go presentation without my supervisor there tomorrow so I am excited for that. I have attached some pictures for you of me and one of our rehabilitated parrots as well as the baby lion cub that I got to meet on my birthday." Now that most of the internships are processed I'll have time to add updates from the field.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Great Basin Institute Internship Wk 2 & 3

Hi again,

Since I wasn't able to make a post for week 2 I will be combining both into this post.

Week 2

This week I continued my work on the dirt bike and ATV trails in Dry Valley. Our group was able to finish the main sections which included trails 11, 14, 15, 16, and 17 adding to more than 10 miles of trail. We were moved to another section of trail to work on the harder black diamond trails. This work involved a lot more rock work and the temperatures started to climb making water my new best friend! The Bureau of Land Management has been really impressed with the work being done because there is a race in the valley every year. Also from what I understand, maintaining trails can cost a fortune. Using a Sweco trail machine can cost up to $1,000 per mile which can really hurt their budget. I've been really happy to work for them, and have met a lot of great people working in the business.

I had a shorter weekend due to Memorial day, but I was able to make it up to Lake Tahoe which was quite an experience and the water was freezing! The views are unmatched as being surrounded by Pinus ponderosa and snow capped mountains. The weekend went by really quickly and it was on to week 3.

Week 3

We moved on to another section of the mountain and continued doing rock work. A lot of the trails on this portion where covered by rocks and it is important that the trails are detailed to ensure the safety of use. Temperatures have reached the 100's this week and working in the valleys can be brutal if not prepared. There is very little air flow and energy can be used up quickly. I think the group did a great job this week and we cleared a large amount of trails. Since this was the last week in Dry Valley and the work left was minimal, our supervisor used our last couple of hours to show us some native drawing that have been there for so many years. It was definitely an added plus to the week, and then to finish it off we climbed in a cave that holds one of the only permanent source of water. We also ended extremely hot our days with a swim in Pyramid Lake which is an Indian Reservation.

I spent this weekend watching the Reno Aces baseball game, exploring more of downtown, and going back to Lake Tahoe for the whole of Saturday. Today, we are planning a trip to float down the Truckee River.

Next week I start working on noxious weed removal around the Lake Tahoe.

Thinking about Yosemite next weekend!!



Sunday, June 2, 2013

Great Basin Institute Internship Wk1

Hello All,

Sorry this post is coming a little late. There hasn't been much access to the internet the past two week but its finally is up an running.

I arrived in Reno, Nevada on Monday the 20th to start my internship. At 8am we took a 4 hour Weed Warrior course which introduced me to many of the invasive and noxious weeds that can be found within Nevada and how to control them. The next day we complete another 4 hours of Weed Warrior training where I earned a certificate. Then it was off to work.

My internship involves various different jobs over the course of six weeks. The first 3 weeks will be recreational trail work and the last 3 weeks will involve spraying and removing invasive and noxious weeds.

The Great Basin Institute (GBI) has partnered with the Bureau of Land Management in Eagle Lake, California. We drove 2 hours north of Reno to Dry Valley to camp out for 4 days. Here we are spending 3 weeks focusing on dirt bike trails and ATV trails.

The tools we have been using are the McCloud, Shovel, and Pick-Matic. The first week our group clear around 2 miles of trail and created an new trail which created a shortcut between two trails. Dry Valley is extremel barren but host an awesome amount of wildlife. We have seen pronghorn, mule deer, wild horses, coyote, and fox. I will attempt to get a map of the area as soon as possible.

During the weekend, GBI hosted all the groups this summer to attend a weekend trip to Mammoth. This was a great experience as I got to visit Devil's Post Pile, various hot springs, and an old abandoned  mining town called Bodie. There was also a blonde bear walking through our campsite in Mammoth!

I have many more pictures but have been having an issue with my camera. They will be posted as soon as I figure out the problem. I will be heading back to work where I'll camp out for 4 days. More posts are soon to follow.

Talk soon,