So I’m back online (whoohoo! Comcast comes through!) after my first week of the internship. Lots of new experiences. This has been a week of firsts for me.
First time catching and holding wild birds – American crows, Steller’s jays, Northern Flickers (Dutchies, behave!), and a Glaucous Gull. The crows are the best. Easy to catch, easy to hold, and they use your finger as a perch while getting their meds/tube feeding. The Gull was just frightening. That is a big-ass bird, with a very sharp beak, and it’ll go for your eyes any chance it gets. The Jays and Flickers are not dangerous, but very very flappy, which brings me to another first.
First time letting a bird get away from me and having to get on my hands and knees to net it from under a bank of cages. It will not by my last time, I’m sure.
First time washing bright yellow baby squirrel poop off my hands.
First time taking a pair of kitchen shears to a pair of fully-feathered quail looking for meaty bits.
First time having half a “false ceiling” full of raccoon kits come crashing down on me. (No raccoons or interns were harmed in any way in the making of this mishap.)
First time sifting for mealworms.
First time smearing a mix of catfood and live mealworms onto a wooden wall for Flickers and Red-breasted Sapsuckers to eat.
First time slitting open thawed smelt to stick pills inside, and then injecting them with vitamins.
First time mixing formula for deer fawn.
First time seeing a Turkey buzzard. (Unfortunately, he had just been euthanized after suffering an electrocution injury.)
First time learning how (and where) to empty “the dead bucket”. (Which is exactly what it sounds like.)
First time making a mealworm run.
I’m sure there are a bunch more that aren’t springing to mind at the moment, but these were all quite memorable. Never again will I be able to say that I don’t know what it’s like to ride northbound on Rt. 99 with two containers of mealworms in my lap.
(Note: Taking pictures of any of the animals in our care is strictly verboden, so any pictures I link to here are borrowed from other people’s websites purely for illustrative purposes.)