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I’m almost done with my internship.  I thought I might share some video I’ve taken of our critters here.

First is Beaker: the Abyssinian Ground-Hornbill:  They are from the African equator. They are pretty cool because they have eyelashes…made of feathers!  Males have red throat pouches; females have blue.
We feed him each of his pieces separately to 1) train him to go to his stump  and 2) to keep him from trying to feed Gonzo, the vulture next to him. I’m not sure why.

Come back soon for more!


Last night was the Center’s fund-raiser WildBrew.  Yup. Beer, food, and birds!

Big Boss Man wanted us to fly some birds for the patrons.  This last week we have been working with Midas, our golden eagle, and Zephyr, the Harris Hawk, at the Tulsa Expo Center to prepare.
When we call the birds, we needed them to see us over all the people. So, Boss Man wanted Boss Girl and I to be high and he would be on the stage. There are catwalks in the event building. He wanted me to climb up a straight vertical ladder to get to the highest walk. YEAH…The intern who’s not too big on heights…RIGHT!  I don’t have too much trouble when I’m finally up, but it’s the getting there that bothers me, especially when the assent is vertical!  But not wanting to be difficult, I worked myself up to climbing that ladder all week and yesterday at practice.
At practice, Zephyr landed on a table that was set up for the restaurants instead of coming straight to me.  Of course, this would not be ideal if he landed table with food on it or worse, a person!  Boss Man decided to not fly Zephyr just to be safe; he was able to convince Big Boss Man that this was for the best.
We ended up only flying the golden eagle. So I spent all week freaking out going up and down that stupid ladder for NOTHING! I was not pleased. At least I didn’t have to go up one more time, but it was frustrating to have to go through that. I guess it’s good that I accomplished it.

Thank goodness! Got to love the mink oil for the boots!
The last summer I was here it was a rainy few months.  This month is starting that way as well.  It started raining here this morning and within a few hours we were nicely flooded.
This blog format does not support my camera’s video format, so check out the YouTube:

The Chick Lab/my room is down an incline.  At the start of the video, the waterfall is flowing down some stairs I take to go to the Eagle Barn and the Quail House. … Yeah, not happening!  Panning over, the new lake is even worse than usual because I just raked for our special guests. Awesome.  The water is worst over the plank that is supposed to help keep me dry during such situations…also not happening!  Then the water flows off behind and under the old prairie-chicken habitat, which is thankfully elevated.

Drew Edmonson’s wife came to visit us on Thursday. That means that Big Boss Man was super strict about wanting everything to look nice.  I was in charge of cleaning up our areas and raking all the leaves away from the buildings.  A major task seeing as how we are in the woods.
Apparently Big Boss Man told Boss Lady that he was pleased with my work. He told me in person as well, which was nice.  He said I’d made it look cleaner than it has ever been before. It was especially nice that he mentioned it the next day in the staff meeting as well.  I finally felt good about all the stuff I’ve gotten done around here.

OH! And look at the Cooper’s Hawk now! So big! About 35 days.  Boss Man does not name his falconry birds until they have made their first kill. But his 5-year-old daughter has named the bird “Rainbow.”  : )

It’s been a busy few weeks.  We did the OK Mozart show last Thursday. We had about 250 people. Not as big a turnout as Ryan expected, but still good.  A lot of small children that became restless. Like the little kid who threw his pacifier at the stage and freaked out our recycling raven. Thanks kid!!
One of the volunteers the Center has is a really nice lady we call “Momma” because she takes care of us, especially the interns.  She had us over for lunch after one of our practice days for Mozart.  This past weekend, she invited me to come with her to the final OK Mozart event, “A Night of Gershwin.”  Before the concert started, I noticed a woman I thought I recognized. She went backstage and came out with her harp. Yup! It was the professor Matthew and I both had for Understanding Music! Small world.
This week has been frustrating. I’m working with the Quakers and it’s not going well. Boss Man is not great at constructive criticism.  I’m feeling very discouraged. I got one Quaker to fly to my hand. The other would step up, but today she completely stopped and now acts scared of my hand. Frustrating.

The necropsy for Russell came back “inconclusive.”  This of course makes Boss Man upset and irritable. :/
It is frustrating because this vet has done 2 others since I was last here and he got the same “inconclusive” result.

ticks embedded: 7

The entertainment industry was saddened today by the news of a great stars death: Russel Crow.

NO! Not the Homo sapien Crowe, but the Corvus brachyrhynchos.

When Jennifer was weighing, she said Russel was acting funny.  I went to change his water and he was just sitting in the corner…on the ground, not a perch.  This seemed unusual to me as well.  We were practicing for the shows this week; Russel did his trick (taking a dollar bill from an audience member, taking to Ryan’s pocket, and returning it to the person), but he just held his food reward in his mouth = weird
Ryan was gone, so when he came back, we looked at Russel. Ryan said he was sick but didn’t know why.  Big Boss Man Steve took him to the vet yesterday, and they gave Russel some antibiotics in his food.

Jennifer told me this afternoon that Russel had died. 😦   We are hoping the necropsy will tell us something.

Here’s a life tip:  Power washers are powerful enough to take skin off your finger.  So be careful!
I was washing out hawk crates on Tuesday.
It’s also sad when you’re sweating so much that it looks like you sprayed yourself in the face with said power washer.

Wednesday was “Sweeney Todd Day” or what normal people call BOP (bird of prey) day. I will spare the weak-stomached the details, but we grind the food for some birds, so it’s a good way to practice my scissor skills.
Oh! And Ryan got me some left-handed scissors! I’m very pleased. They still make fun of me relentlessly, but it’s nice to have them.

Thursday: Our volunteer came today to help out.  It was REALLY HOT!!! We are setting up the stage to get ready for some shows next week.  It’s too hot and humid. Blah.

ticks embedded: 4
ticks loose: I lost count a long time ago
wasp sting count: 1

After graduating from OU, I returned to the George M. Sutton Avian Research Center in Bartlesville, OK to intern for their education program.  I was their intern summer 2008 and was excited when they asked me to return.

I will be helping with basic animal care and training.  Unlike last time, I will be the only intern.

I am staying in the little room again.

This year there are peach-colored walls and curtains. I’m standing at the door to take these pictures…yeah, it’s that small.  I sleep on a futon that is right next to the door (out of the picture).

I sleep in the “Chick Lab.” So named because it is where the eaglets were housed back when the Center was involved in eagle rehabilitation.

The players in our little adventure are:
Big Boss Man: the director of the Center
Boss Man: the education director/head trainer/my boss
Boss Lady: the second in command under Boss Man

Since I’ve been the intern before and have volunteered various times since then, they expect me to do really well this time around.  I didn’t realize how serious they were until Boss Man told me I needed to be ready to go at 6am my first day. WHAT?!
The eagle nest that the camera was on this season failed.  The center decided to move the equipment to a new nest site in Sand Springs. They also wanted to band the eaglets. They needed help and wanted to get up early to beat the heat… yeah right!!
Big Boss Man, climbed the tree. As humans are very large, the adults get frightened away, but continue to fly around the nest area; they will not attack the human due to the size difference.  Boss Lady and I were in charge of watching the nest from afar and following the babies when they fell from the nest.  As the eaglets have not fully fledged, they cannot fly well and will either fall from the nest right away, or be able to fly for awhile before falling.
The first climbed to the farthest point of the nest and fell close by. The third did as well.  The second one who left the nest must have been a few days older as it was able to actually fly farther.  I started to run after it, but once it flew over some trees, I lost it.  I knew it was going down near some warehouses. I was nervous the whole time we were looking for it that it was my fault that I’d lost it.   The boss at the place was willing to help us look around. He even got on the roof to look up there.  Thankfully he did because he was able to spot our eaglet in a tree right by the building.  It was funny because we had walked past that tree 3 or 4 times looking on the ground and talking to the workers about why we were running around.  The Vice Director of the Center and one of the workers got in their bucket lift so Vice D. could pull the eaglet out/down.
Afterward Boss Man banded all 3 and attached transmitters to the back of 2, we packed each into a duffel bag and hoisted them back up to Big Boss Man to return to the nest.

Here are the eaglets: two female and one male. The left and center ones have the transmitters.

Here is a size comparison of a researcher and the large female.