Do wash your hands between caring for each bird because many of Tri-State’s patients are infected with contagious diseases such as Giardia or Finch Eye. Don’t put food in a Red-Tail Hawk’s cage without using tongs since they are food aggressive and will fly at you to take the food directly out of your hand. Do reuse food if the bird doesn’t eat all of it overnight because at a non-profit organization saving food=saving valuable money. Don’t forget to hangup the hoses when not in use as the water in them may freeze and make them difficult to use the next the day.
These are just a few of the many important do’s and don’ts I have learned in my first four days volunteering at Tri-State. However, each day I am asking fewer and fewer questions and I seem to be falling into a daily routine. I arrive at 8 in the morning, get briefed on the birds in house at the volunteer meeting, work outside and take care of the birds for however long that takes, and then do any tasks the supervisor of the day needs done until 3, which is when the PM bird feeding begins. In a normal day, I probably care for about five birds or so by myself and then work with other volunteers to take care of the cages containing more than one bird. Currently, there are around 30 birds in house including three Bald Eagles and eight Red-Tailed Hawks. Below is a picture of a Red-Tailed Hawk.
Watching birds like these hawks soar in the flight cages to build-up muscle strength in their wings again has been incredible so far. The chance to not only get up close and personal with these birds, but to actually assist in their recovery by putting medicine in their food and such, has been one I won’t forget. Although cutting open a dead mouse’s stomach and filling it with medicine isn’t most peoples idea of fun or interesting, there is something serene for me in this “gross” action. I find peace in the fact that my volunteer work is helping to save the birds at Tri-States lives, and I am eagerly looking forward to continuing my work throughout the next week and a half.