Foxfeather (foxfeather) wrote,

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Birds, Birds, and more Birds. (Also known as: owls are awesome)

Skipping around a bit - back in time to October and the University of Minnesota's Raptor Care and Management Class I was delighted to attend.

Me with one of the clinic's resident peregrine falcons.

A rehabilitated barred owl about to go back into the wild, ironically in the town where I live.

lyosha came out to Minnesota and helped to throw more fuel under the fire of my lifelong obsession for birds by nudging me into taking the U of M's Intensive Raptor care/management workshop - something I've wanted to do since they started offering it. This gave me the perfect opportunity to go and get more of the practical experience I need with birds of prey.
The centre itself is well deserving of its title as one of the world’s leading bird of prey facilities – with a fantastic staff, incredible birds, dedicated volunteers, and incredible vision.
I would really like to keep owls someday, and am very interested (and taking steps towards) getting my falconer's license. I've always known my life would slowly be more and more absorbed by birds, and my attempts to stem the flow of this stream are always being thwarted in one fashion or another. My little flock already rules (and runs) my life - and I can't imagine being happy any other way. :)

Learning to correctly wrap ball bandages to help heal damaged feet.

I’m not sure if everyone realizes just how big bald eagles can be!

A badly overgrown beak in need of coping (an education bird that was allowed to overgrow for purpose of demonstration).

Same bird, beak nicely coped and shiny! It was amazingly easy to do compared to working with the parrots whose beaks I've trimmed for years - since the raptors don't have that muscular tongue and super beak strength of the psittacines. You have to be so much more careful of the bristles around the face, though.

An amazing demonstration of the effectiveness of acupuncture on a bald eagle. It was incredible to watch the results in a bird (who obviously cannot lie about its effectiveness). It makes me curious to explore the effects of the art on myself!

Learning to wrap an interdigitary bandage on a bald eagle patient.

A juvenile bald eagle patient down in the clinic.

Injured bald eagle.

The incredible, massive ear opening of a great grey owl.

Eye exam on a great horned owl.

This owl was amazingly calm and patient - he was one of two great horned owls the center keeps solely for the purpose of veterinary education (they are otherwise unreleasable owls but they 'earn their keep' so to speak by helping people learn how to care for raptors in general. It was obvious they had been through the drill in-numerous times before.

Beautiful female peregrine.

Learning to give vital fluids.

The whole experience was amazing - the class was so much more than I could have possibly imagined it would be. I learned so much and the group of people who attended were all amazing.
I am planning to spend more time learning in-depth about day to day care of raptors this winter and meeting up with local falconers (in preparation of taking the state exam and finding a mentor). Eventually I will be able to trap and train my own red-tail and get my feet wet in the sport.

Birds make me so, so happy. :)
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