Raptor Internship Week 1

Last Tuesday I began the 12-week Raptor Internship program at Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation in Itasca. The class meets through the end of March and we’ll cover topics like equipment, handling, training and rehabilitation, as well as raptor natural histories. The class has six students, although only five were in attendance for the first meeting. We come with different levels of experience and various reasons for taking the course. One classmate is looking for a new career. Another is looking to enhance her volunteer opportunities. I am the only birder.

Part of this first meeting was spent getting to know each other and learning about Flint Creek and their work. We also got to meet many of the education birds at Flint Creek. The organization has three facilities so we saw the birds in residence at the Itasca facility – but we learned the history of sixteen of the Flint Creek education birds.

This is Pip, a Barn Owl hatched as part of a captive reintroduction program. Pip was held back to be used as an education bird and was hatched in 2002. (photo taken during the open house a few weeks ago)

Here’s Meepy, a Barred Owl. Like many of the education birds at Flint Creek, Meepy was being raised as a pet illegally before joining the education birds. Barred Owls are my favorite so I am looking forward to getting to know Meepy. She has a beautiful enclosure (to my untrained eye) complete with a mural painted on the wall. (photo taken during the open house a few weeks ago)

One of the most interesting education birds at Flint Creek is Zen, a Cooper’s Hawk. Zen has an unusually calm disposition for his species – Cooper’s Hawks are rarely used as education birds. Here is a video of Flint Creek founder (and our instructor) Dawn Keller, with Zen.

We rounded out our first day with a short tour of the facility. We also observed (and helped a little) a couple of the regular volunteers with some basic chores at the mews. This first day was a great introduction to the class and I am really looking forward to the next 12 weeks of learning and working. Now I’ve got to go read my homework. Next week: Equipment!

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