Friday, March 16, 2007

An apology, and some angry birds

Word of the Day:
taciturn \TAS-uh-turn\, adjective:
Habitually silent; not inclined to talk.

As all of you know, I am not usually taciturn when it comes to posting.
But I got home last night after my program at about 10:15 pm, and after the week I have had, I didn't have any post within me. I apologize to all of you for making you go to bed without my many, many words of wisdom and pithy epigram-esque writings.

Tomorrow, some volunteers are going out to our new property to tear down old decks around the barn, and I think I will be taking the girls out and get some pictures of our sweaty, dedicated guys workin' the crow bars.
(And I want to grab some of the discarded wood, if there isn't any other purpose for it. It would make good border for our "prairie experiment".)
: )

I love to watch birds drinking water. Call me crazy, (everyone else does) but it's interesting to watch a bird do anything.
Don't stare at me!
"Get. The. F***. Out. Of. My. Face."
Two Socks
This is Two Socks, our male program red-tailed hawk at RAPTOR.
He is bunking with Isis right now, for reasons I will reveal in a moment.
BTW: I am really bad at answering comments people leave on my blog...
Lynne asked if I ever stroke or pet the program birds. The quick answer is NO. But the real answer is that the gray screech owl will tolerate a small amount of touching (I am usually dusting her off after removing her from her nest's lined with sawdust).
The GHO tolerates touching on two places on his/her body...the right foot and the left wing (his/her two injury sites). I don't touch Lucy unless she has pulled a jess out and I have to put it back in (and she bites like a mutha when I do that) And I barely can hold the red-taileds, so touching them in a gentle way is impossible, and unwanted, and unwise.
Light and dark
A study in light versus dark, good versus evil. No, I'm just kidding. They are both nuts.
(But Marc said, and I quote: "She's a bitch, but she's cool.")
Yep, that about sums her up. And me, too, for that matter.
Two Socks is much better away from his usual mew-mate, Scarlet. She is an aggressive bitch and I he imitates her bad attitude.
This photo cracks me's like someone has eaten some bad rat or something and has some "wind" issues:

It wasn't me!
"It wasn't ME!!!"
"It wasn't me, either!"

Scarlet sitting
This is why Two Socks has been moved:

Observe that Scarlet is sitting on the ground. And looked more pissed off than usual.
A little lesson in bird reproduction, kiddies...
When a girl bird and a boy bird start feeling the love in the early days of Spring, they do what they are meant to do: They get busy. They knock boots. They do the deed. They get it on.
And when all this hot and heavy action takes place, since birds don't have birth control readily available, eggs happen.
Scarlet is sitting on at least one egg (Someone removed the first one yesterday, but she was sitting there again when I peeked in today)
Note on eggs at RAPTOR:
Our permit states that we are a rehab facility. We cannot breed the birds. We don't have the equipment or manpower to do it, and it's beyond the scope of what we are trying to do.
So when an egg happens (and it's not very often) we have to ensure that it does not become a baby bird. The eggs are shaken (it's just like a chicken egg at first...a yolk and a white...we are NOT killing chicks because they aren't developed yet) I think that RAPTOR will place the eggs back after addling(shaking) to prevent the birds from constantly replacing the eggs with lost ones and eventually exhausting themselves.
Sooner or later (can't be soon enough for us), Scarlet will stop laying and eventually stop incubating and her hormone levels will decrease and she will go back to her normal, hate-filled self.
A very quick video of the voice of Satan.
(Just's Scarlet telling me in no uncertain terms that she wants to kill me)


The Swami said...

The first photo of Isis and friend[?] definitely looks like Good & Evil.

The Swami said...

Sorry to post an infomercial here but, Susan, you definitely need to check out today's post on Yak Herder Central.

Mary said...

Susan, you are too much. You know the exact words! I love hearing about your raptors and I've wondered the same thing as Lynne. If they are not inclined to liking to be touched, how do you get them to perch on your gloved hand?

Your photos are hilarious, especially the "I didn't do it" one ;o) And I agree with you - many of the raptors look quite bitchy. Lovely bitches, though.

Susan Gets Native said...

Father-In-Law (aka Swami):
You have gone all the way around the bend, off your rocker, over the cuckoo's nest...I can't believe you did that. But it's cool.

They are "glove-trained" and "manned-down", if they have a personality that seems able to be handled. Notice how we don't have any program Cooper's or sharp-shinned hawks? Too spazzy.
I think that all of the birds would rather be anywhere but on our hands, but they get used to it. But most of them HATE to be touched (Helen was that way...the rehabber who tried to save her, loathed it when she would have to wrap Helen in a towel to "tube" her, because Helen hated every minute of it)

Mary said...

Ok. But why don't they fly off when perched on your gloved hand? I hope I'm not sounding too stupid.

Susan Gets Native said...

It's not stupid.
We hold onto their jesses (leather straps that they wear all the time) and then we attach a metal swivel and to that we add a leash, wrap it around our hand and then the bird is basically tied to us.
Sometimes they still try to fly off, (called bating) but they don't go anywhere.

NatureWoman said...

Very cool post Susan! I love learning new things. I also love watching birds *do* anything. Especially anything having to do with water. Cool video!

mon@rch said...

Wish I could get out there and help with those pens! That is my kind of hard work that I enjoy doing! Keep us updated on the progress! I love the two light and dark hawks together like you captured in the photo! Also, once again I loved your video of Satan sitting on her egg!

Dave said...

I had trouble sleeping because you didn't post last night. :)

Trixie said...

Love the contrast pictures. And I cannot wait to see pictures of your property. YIPPY!

Lynne said...

Thanks for the tutorial Susan! I've seen so many pet birds that enjoy being scratched or stroked and I had wondered if these raptors ever get comfotable enough with handling to be able to enjoy contact.

Now- on to my next question-
HOW'S EARL?? Can you get one of your famous "through the bars face shots" of Earl? Pleeeeze?!?!