Last Tuesday was the final day of the Raptor Internship I took at Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation this spring. After 11 weeks of lecture, study and handling work, we spent the first part of week 12 taking our 150-question test and practical examination. After passing the practical portion we were able to take a walk with Old Red, FCWR’s wise old Red-tailed Hawk, on our own. This was the first time we were able to walk solo with a such a big bird. She was magnificent! I did get a few photos during the day, but not of raptors – and I’m saving them for a future post on a different subject. Instead, here is a collection of some photos taken throughout the internship.
During the second week we learned about equipment and put together our own falconry gloves. I was distracted by Meepy, who I could see from my classroom chair.
Meepy resting in her mew
In week 4 we worked with the equipment and got to practice removing and applying equipment with Pip, a Barn Owl with a lot of character.
Posing with Pip after the exercise
In week 5 I went to take Meepy out of her mew. This was the first time I took a bird onto my glove. Luckily there was a student reporter in our class with us who documented it (and my awkwardness) in photos.
Meepy thinks about getting on my glove
In week 6 we got to work with Junior for the first time. I was happy to have another stroll with Meepy, too.
Junior and me
Meepy and me
In week 7 I got to walk with a bird on my own for the first time. Darwin the American Kestrel was a perfect gentleman.
Darwin and me
During week 9 I was lucky enough to get to hold a Red-tailed Hawk for the first time. 0511 was a bit restless. I love this photo, even though it’s blurry. I’ve got a look of surprise on my face – I’m feeling 0511’s strong talons on my hand. You can see Dawn, behind us, has a big smile on her face. She’s laughing at my reaction to 0511’s incredible strength.
0511 and me, with Dawn in the background
In week 10 I got to hold Meepy while she was having her beak coped. Later I held FCWR’s longtime resident Old Red.
Meepy and me after the deed
Old Red and me
I enjoyed the internship so much and I’m really sad it’s over. I highly recommend the Raptor Internship! Before it began I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it and I was late signing up, but I’m so glad I did.
Along with Arthur I’m volunteering with Rescue & Recovery during the spring migration. I hope to continue volunteering at FCWR going forward and I’m sure you’ll hear all about it here on the blog!