Training at TRC


This post will start out about an update on the California condor at The Raptor Center and then will go into a kind of gross mouse story. There are no photos, but if you have a problem with dead stuff don't go beyond the condor update.

On a side note: can you id the bird in the photo?

The condor is recovering nicely and will be at TRC for about another week. The camera is still up in the lobby, but is now running on battery power. Apparently the condor thought it was fun to chew on the power cord so it was replaced with a battery pack. I'm not sure how long the battery will be up and the condor will probably be gone next week, so if you want to check it out, I would do so relatively soon. I was watching the camera this morning and boy, the feet on that bird are amazing!

Today I went in for more bird handling refresher training at TRC. Even though I've handled birds since 1998, I took a few months off this year when my schedule got insane. Now that I have proper time to devote to TRC I want to be back to where I was handling-wise and I need to make sure that my handling is consistent with how everyone else handles the education birds. It's less stressful for the birds that way.

Kate the Bird Curator had me prep food for some of the birds today. When we feed the education raptors, we feed them all dead food like rats, mice, chicken, day old chicks and the like. We usually have to prep the food by removing the intestines (helps minimize the risk of salmonella poisoning to the ed birds). Today I had a first. I got a particularly fat mouse out of the fridge and began to cut open the abdomen, instead of immediately finding intestines, I found a litter inside it. It was a bit more tricky removing the intestines--the fetuses came out of everywhere inside the mouse. I know it sounds really gross, but I was amazed by not only how many were inside, but just that they seemed to be all over inside the body. At one point when I thought they were all all out, a squeezed the mouse a tiny bit and other popped out from the back. All part of the day's work if you are going to be a volunteer at TRC.

After I got the food ready got to feed a kestrel and peregrine falcon on the fist. It's a good day when you get to have one of those guys sitting on your hand. Incidentally, the bottom half of the bird in the top photo is a peregrine falcon. A big clue are the toes, peregrines have long, long toes for grabbing fat breasted bird like pigeons and teal.