Although my 61 hours of volunteering at Tri-State so far is impressive, it is nothing compared to the many volunteers whose total hours of service number in the hundreds. However, despite my lack of experience compared to them, this week I was asked to help train another high school volunteer who was interested in bird care, which is what I am primarily doing at Tri-State. My main duties for each bird are to clean their cages with a hose, swap out their water bowls and bath pans for new ones, prepare their food (which can vary from simple wild bird seed for songbirds to a plate of chopped up chicken, fish, dog kibble, rodent, and egg yolk for a vulture), and give them their meds in the food. Now, I can easily and confidently describe this process to you guys, but a week ago when I was a rookie that wasn’t the case.
Since I’m so new to Tri-State and the in’s and out’s of the facility, and because I am in high school, it was easy for me to connect with the 16-year-old junior shadowing me. Getting to train another volunteer was a nice change of pace from the daily routine I have fallen into. It’s funny because even though in reality I’ve only been volunteering at Tri-State for a week, it feels like a lifetime of work since I have been coming in every day from 8-4. Seeing the big smile on my shadow’s face as we cleaned the cage of a Blue Jay (pictured below) reminded me of my own joy just eight days ago when I first started volunteering at Tri-State. It’s crazy how quickly the roles have reversed! I have outgrown my novice status and become not only a master of bird care, but a teacher of it as well.