Tuesday, June 19, 2012

for the love of wildlife

every monday morning i drag myself out of bed to head down to the local wildlife care center to volunteer 4 hours of cleaning cages and doing mountains of dishes and laundry. i have to admit, some days i would rather just keep sleeping. i do love going, but if you know me, you know i love sleep at least as much. funny thing though, the days when it's hardest to get my butt down there almost always seem to be the most rewarding. yesterday was one of those days. i hit an extra snooze and had a twinge of a headache that i secretly wished had been just a bit harsher so i'd have a reason to call off. but, i got up and out the door and i'm glad i did!

the wildlife care center i currently volunteer with does not deal with many raptors: hawks,  falcons, owls, etc. we're mostly seabirds: pelicans, seagulls, herons, murres and other more common creatures like ducks, opossums and raccoons. when i lived in oregon, however, the wildlife care center i volunteered with dealt mostly with raptors, so i have handled and fed quite of few of them. therefore, i am dubbed the raptor expert at my current center on my shift, yay me!

yesterday, i was told we had a juvenile coopers hawk that had not eaten all night and i was going to have to coax him into eating something. that woke me up! my heart began to dance and i admit, i kinda teared up a little. i went over to peek in the cage of the not so little guy and he was precious. his head looked like a dandy lion with those baby bird feathers sticking up all over. i immediately fell in love. my job for the morning was to cut up some mice and hand feed this little guy with forceps (long tweezers.) i grabbed a hind portion of a mouse with the tail attached and kinda pulled it across the bottom of the cage to simulate the mouse running and watched him track it. i then dangled the mouse part over his head, he began to kind of click his beak and he ate it! i was a proud momma. i got him to eat another half of a piece and then he was done. i am always so honored when an animal in captivity will take food from me. believe or not, they can be very particular about it. it wasn't too vital that he eat a lot at our facility because, since we don't deal with raptors, he was going to be transfered over to the local raptor center shortly. before i left i thought i'd peek in on him and see if he wanted any more. he was sound asleep with his head buried deep in his back. it didn't even phase him when i opened the door to his cage. i could relate to being that sleepy, guess we're not all that different after all.

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