Sunday, August 12, 2012

Taking care of birds is so much work, let me tell you.  Right now most of the inside birds are being fed every 2 hours with the exception of the chimney swifts and the ones that are self feeding.  We got in an egret with a badly broken leg which is infected and not healing.  The vet would not even take him in because his chances of recovering are slim.

Monday at the county fair AWC had a table set up where we informed fair guests about the center and explained the stories of the birds that we brought with us.  We had the one legged red bellied woodpecker and a screech owl on display for people to see and they really were interested in their personal stories and how they ended up at AWC.  Giselle's son helped kids make bird binoculars out of toilet paper rolls and I tried to get kids involved in searching through owl pellets (the bones and fur of the animals that owls eat cannot be digested and are coughed up as a pellet).  Most were somewhat grossed out but there were quite a few that got very excited about finding bones and trying to figure out what part of the rat they found from the labeled bone chart we had.  Most people automatically thought that the pellets were feces but were surprised to find out that it was not, although a hunk of fur and bone puke did not make them any more interested.  It was only the second day of the fair so it was very crowded.

Tuesday, I met Giselle to the farm I used to work at before college and released 5 barn swallows.  They needed to be released where there were other swallows because they do not eat well on their own in captivity.  So, they go from us hand feeding them to being free and having to learn how to catch insects from watching other birds.  They quickly joined the flock that was flying around at the time so they should do well there.

We have gotten in several hawks that have been hit by cars or are young and injured.  I got to work with the red tails quite a bit last week by holding them and trying to get the new hawks to eat from us by hand feeding them.  They can be quite intimidating with the way that they stare at you.  They are quite a large hawk and since they are so common here, we have many.  We have 3 inside, and 11 outside in flight cages.

The robins that I brought are doing well, and are in the ICU incubator with 2 nestling mocking birds, one of which has a scissor beak.  This is where the top and bottom of the beak does not line up so it can be difficult for the bird to eat.  It's appetite is good so we will see how it does when it's older.

I only have a week left of interning at AWC unfortunately, but it has been an interesting experience considering I am used to working with mammals, which is very different.  The summer is coming to an end but there are still quite a bit of birds being brought to AWC.  The life of a rehabber is not an easy one.  You never know what is going to be brought in or to what extent the injured is going to be because most of the time people exaggerate how bad the injury is.  Rehabbing if definitely not boring!

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