Raptor Intership Week 9

During this week’s Raptor Internship at Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation, we learned about raptor diets. We also got to watch Pip do a bit more flight training. Along with the usual handling experience and mew maintenance, I got to hold a Red-tailed Hawk for the first time. (!!)

Pip the Barn Owl was given some more flight training. Last week we watched two of Flint Creek’s volunteers, Karen and Linda, work with Pip. This time two classmates got to flight train. Pip started out a bit over-enthusiastic – flying before he should have. Then after a few flights he completely lost all interest, the rascal.

As the class was coming inside after the flight training, a huge huge flock of Sandhill Cranes flew overhead. I took this crummy video – see how big the flock is?

After lunch some classmates took Junior and Meepy out of their mews. The rest of us waited inside while Dawn brought 0511 into the classroom. I got to hold her first.

Dawn warned that if she bated, it wouldn’t feel like anything we’d experienced before – like she was taking our arm away with her! 0511 was agitated during the initial transfer and I was awed by her strength.

First taking 0511 onto my glove

0511 starts to settle down

Once the transfer from Dawn to me was complete, I was surprised by how heavy 0511 was. She didn’t fully relax while I was holding her and a few times I could feel her strong talon grabbing my arm – what power!

0511’s powerful talons

Nervous but happy

Most of the time her legs remained in a somewhat awkward position and she kept her wings slightly spread. It probably didn’t help that I was nervous, too. I was waiting for a bate but after a while my arm felt fatigued so I gave her back to Dawn.

After this we took turns walking with Junior and Meepy. Towards the end of my walk with Junior, he bated and didn’t correct himself. I was happy to have the chance to lift him back up, with coaching from both Dawn and Linda, who were nearby at the time. During my walk with Meepy I took the long path. 🙂

While we were cleaning out a couple of the mews, Dawn showed us the insides of a quail (prey item), to illustrate the digestive tract of a bird. We had seen diagrams in the morning but it was helpful to see the real deal. Lucky for you I did not manage to take photos of this. 😉

Next week: Rehabilitation.

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