Thursday, April 12, 2007

Blood, birds and buns

First, I have to give a shout-out to Kathi, aka katdoc, for her lovely contribution to RAPTOR, Inc. She has been trapping house sparrows in an in-nesting box trap. She accumlulated a bag full and I went and picked them up to take over to the RAPTOR freezers.
She said, and I feel the same way, that she hates doing this (after all, she IS a vet!) but it made her feel better that the carcasses were going to a good cause.
A funny moment, that I think Kathi didn't catch:
Her receptionist was watching this dead bird exchange, and I glanced over at her and smiled, but she had a look of such total revulsion and disgust and shock on her face. I guess she doesn't put up bluebird houses.
This ties in nicely with some pictures I got today. I took the bag o' birds to RAPTOR, and peeked in on the program birds. And the great horned owl scared the bejesus out of me:

GHO caught red handed
Ack! Did she hurt herself?????'s where the blood came from...(Scroll down if you have a weak constitution)

The reason for the red hand
An eviscerated rat. I've never seen one so bloody before. Of course, I usually see the left overs as just a tail or some feet.
When I began volunteering at RAPTOR, there were many times I had to fight down the vomit. But as time went on, I started to see the rats and mice as just food. Sure, there were a few times I was tempted to take home a few of the cuter, live mice in the basement. But I resisted.
I think the whole "prey" thing can turn people off initially, as I can see it in the faces of new volunteers. But part of you hardens a little, working with not just the feeding of the birds, but the birds themselves. RAPTOR does everything in its power to heal and release the birds in it's care. But getting attached to any of them is a recipe for heartache. Many are released, and many of them die.
The best thing to focus on is how many are helped.
Now let's look at Lucy. That always makes me happy.
I'm Lucy.  Love me.
"I'm Lucy. Love me."
Now, anthropomorphism is something that we all engage in, whether it be our pets or the birds at our feeders. I know that animals don't think the way we do, but when I look at Lucy, I can almost hear her saying, "I'm a little nervous about you, but I will trust you, because I am one sweet damn bird."
Why I am here
You can see why Lucy became a program bird.
I call this her "Check, please!" pose.
And a giggle:

Roth Rolls
Now, that's my kind of company.


John said...

I guess if I saw blood on an owl's talon I would assume it was another creature's. But maybe not.

Lucy looks like a beautiful program bird - and a great poser.

Lynne said...

What a gorgeous bird that Lucy is. I can see why you're so fond of her.


Mary said...

If I were the receptionist I'd be sick, too. My day would have been shot after that.

Lucy is definitely a cutie - love those eyes!

Jayne said...

I can't believe you get to do this for a living Susan. To be able to see beautiful creatures like Lucy each day and to rehabilitate others... what a wonderful calling.

Susan Gets Native said...

I have seen blood on their talons before, just not on ONE single talon. It was bright red and fresh, so at first I thought she had been injured. And yes, Lucy rocks.


Oh, come on. Wouldn't a dead animal exchange make the day more interesting?

I have the best job in the whole world. Audiences can see how jazzed I am to be presenting such awesome birds. And I think you are right, that it is a calling. It's not for everyone.

katdoc said...

I missed her face, but after you left, Sue asked what that transaction was all about. When I told her that I was giving you dead house sparrows to feed the hawks, she said, "You KILLED them?" I explained how destructive they are, how they destroy bluebird eggs and even kill adult birds, she said, "Well, I hate them too, but I don't think I could kill them."

Funny. None of them think twice about me having to euthanize dogs and cats, but the dead HOSP freaked them out. I think we will have to do any future sparrow deals in secret - my soft-hearted staff can't take it.


PS: I know you hate it when I brag, but I have 4 baby bluebirds and 1 egg still to hatch as of this evening. Who says Friday the 13th is unlucky?

Mary said...

Susan and Katdoc,

I totally get this. When I see the house sparrows on parking lots I feel disgust. Yes, the killing bothers me very much but I love the bluebirds...

mon@rch said...

I always love your post with lucy, she is such a stunning bird! Love reading about the life of these guys like this! Keep up the great work!

Susan Gets Native said...

You love to rub it in, don't you? I haven't even glimpsed a bluebird for months.
But I'm happy for you and your new little family.
And I agree any further dead bird exchanges will have to take place in the parking lot. I could tell she was grossed out of her mind.