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long shift with animals, and missing the fun..

September 4, 2009

A big release day.. that I shall miss.

I’m pretty bummed.  A little while ago, I just got an email from the boss, sent out to all volunteers. This Saturday will be an amazing day at the center – most of the hawks and owls will be caught inside their cages, boxed up, driven out to various areas, and released, and I’m going to MISS IT!!

I had made plans several weeks ago to attend a Scottish Highland Games with my dad and aunt. Some Highland Games are pretty small, but this one is quite large. The Royal Scots Guard is going to be there, and they almost never perform in America. They will be mustering with the American Marine Corp band, and there will be 700 pipers and drummers from all over for the closing ceremonies, Highland Games events, and many excellent bands, including a group from the town where I live. I know 2 of the three people in that band, haven’t seen them in quite awhile, and want to go to the games to support them and make some videos of their performances.

As much as I want to go to the Highland Games, I am feeling disappointed at missing out on the big release day.  I am trying not to let this bother me. I know my help would make a big difference at the center. I am one of the few people there who has experience releasing hawks. I know how to handle them. And sure enough, on the big day, I have plans which I do not want to cancel.  At least I spent lots of time at the wildlife center today.

A rather long shift.

Today, I worked at the center from 1:30pm to just after 7PM.

I cleaned some raptor cages, fed almost all the raptors, talked with an animal control officer from the county who brought in a red tail hawk, did a bit of paperwork, refilled a miniature duck pond for some ducklings, restocked the fridge for the raptors, cleaned out FILTHY raccoon cages (raccoon poop smells the worst, I think..perhaps even worse than skunk poop), rigged some harnesses for racoon water bottles, had to hold a water bottle for the raccoons before I could set up the bottles to hang securely outside their cages so they could drink, refilled the bottles, sprayed out the raccoon area, cleaned the pooper-scooper tools, dumped the poop, brought dirty pie plate-size metal bowls into the main building where the sink is, wrote my initials on the board for the animals I fed, which also included the raven and a fox..

First time in the fox’s cage – this is the non-releasable fox. I thought I was not allowed in there because I have not been vaccinated – but now told just not to pet the fox – so I didn’t pet the fox. I felt sad about this. The fox is quite tame, loves people, and doesn’t get enough attention. I cleaned up the fox’s room, then went on to other chores..

Did nasty dishes, cleaned the kitchen, took out the trash, swept, spent some time with the raven, didn’t take the merlin out because she was more agitated than usual because the sprinklers near her cage came on, did take the barn owl out for a little while, but he too was somewhat stressed because the sprinklers were on.

Then, I had to call one of the other staff members for the combination to the lock that we use to chain the gate up with, because the volunteer who left before me locked the padlock – she did not chain up the gate properly, so I was not locked in, but had to unlock the thing and redo the chain, then lock the lock again, then I left.. yeah, long day! I did not go to the gym.

I have to remind myself that it is really great and wonderful to be around the animals, help them and even hold them and spend time with some of them. I want to avoid focusing on the things that go wrong and on the people who are rude. I need to remember what I get to do.

Damn, I’m still bothered about missing Saturday, and frustrated, but that is how it goes. I informed the boss several days ago I’d be out. Hope the rest of the staff have fun, and that they and the birds are all safe. I’m really going to miss the hawks. I will try to get some videos of them on the day before they are released (it is now officially Friday according to the clock, and I am going in on Friday afternoon). I will not miss the Great Horned Owls much at all. We have two of those which are non-releasable, and that is good enough for me.

Alright then.. gettin’ late.. time to wrap up this entry. I’m going to read some more of  “Neverwhere” for a little while, and relax. I expect I’ll get to sleep by 2 am or so .

 

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