Hannah Slep: Day 2 Blog
Today started out pretty neat. Abby, Will, and I got to exercise birds! In detail, birds that are in the final stages of the rehabilitation process go into large cages where they can fly so they can strengthen their wings. However, they can be pretty lazy, and don’t really have to fly away from much. So the staff and/or volunteers have to go into the cages and go to one side to scare or at least motivate the birds to the other side. Then, they would go to the other side and repeat the same action for as many times as their condition calls for.
That is what the three of us got to help with. We were lead by Maggie, a very kind yet humorous woman, who showed us exactly how the process is done. All four of us were able to fit in one of their largest cages filled with Red-Tailed Hawks and one Vulture. Most of them were compliant, but some didn’t want to move. So Maggie had to pick them up by their feet (we all wore protective gloves of course!) and throw them. Now it sounds worse than it actually is, although it was kinda sad to watch. She wasn’t hurting them in any way. It’s called “encouraging” the birds.
We exercised two more cages. Then, we went into a cage where there were five little condos all lined up next to each other, all walled up so the birds couldn’t see who was next to them, nor us in the main cage area, except for a little hole in the door. The volunteers in this cage were weighing baby birds and birds that were in the beginnings of the rehabilitation process, cleaning their cages, and feeding them. We got to see baby screech owls—SO CUTE. And a baby eagle and baby Barred Owls. It was awesome! One screech owl got loose from the weighing box and fly around the caged area we were in. He was so adorable! The volunteers got him ad put him back.
Afterwards was lunchtime, then after that we watched a program that some staff and volunteers were presenting to some elementary school kids. They presented 3 raptors and talked about each one and their habits in the wild. Then, we got to view an intern from NC State who was studying to be a veterinarian perform a necropsy (bird autopsy). She cue through the skull of a dead baby screech owl who was most likely hit by a car. She presented the brain and revealed some bruised spots and hemorrhaging near the cerebellum. Very neat as well. So all in all, it was a very interesting and cool day!