Saturday, March 22, 2008

It's a rare Saturday when I have no obligations. I'm off seeing the latest rare bird (well, looking for it, anyway) or I have a RAPTOR program, or there's family stuff. Today I thought my help would be appreciated at RAPTOR after the flood.

When I first got there, I got Lucy out and perched her so she could get some exercise and stretch. Then, I got brave and decided to go get Earl. Now, I don't deal with Earl. When I do a program, I walk right on by her cage. One, she doesn't fit into my car and two, she's freakin' crazy. But I wanted to overcome my nervousness.
The others asked if they could watch. I said no. They asked if they could laugh. I said yes.

I went in and picked up one of her jesses and she commenced to biting the everloving Hell out of me. I stood my ground, but she was having none of me today. Thankfully, Marc came in and helped out by holding her jesses while I got the swivel on. I got her on my glove and walked outside. She then bated (flew off the glove) and spun me around a few times (she's 4.6 pounds...and strong). She then refused to get back up on my hand and just hung there (a bird's version of pouting). Marc got a glove on and assisted her back up to my hand. And then Earl puked on me. And not a little dribble...more like a whole rat's worth of barf. It got on my hand, on my shirt...I may have to burn it.
I passed her to Marc, and she suddenly was acting like a lady.
Marc and Earl

She is such a brat.
Earl 032208
Gratuitous vulture photo for Lynne.

The carriers that held the birds for two days were in need of some major scrubbing:
cleaning carriers 1

Craig and Russ cleaning carriers
Russ and Craig, spraying out one of the bird carriers.

Bent over
Marc grabbed my camera and got some pictures of me. I'm sure glad he didn't come up from behind me. Cause that's not my good side.

We also coped Lucy's beak, and at the end of it all, Marc reached in to feel for any rough spots, and Lucy bit the crap out of his finger. She was hooded, but there was just enough room for her to see his fingers getting close and bam. It's not a good coping unless someone is bleeding.

Me scrubbing carrier

For those who don't routinely scrub raptor poop: Red-tailed hawk poop is similar in consistency and permanence to spackle. It takes a wire brush and lots of scrubbing and maybe you will get it off whatever you are trying to clean.

Vulture vomit, blood and big-bird poop.
Just another glamorous day at RAPTOR, Inc.


Mary C said...

That sounds like a job for Mike Rowe, the Dirty Jobs guy on Discovery Channel. Susan, that goes to show those kinds of volunteer jobs that are not glamorous, and take folks like you who love your birds to do that kind of job. Kudos to you and all the volunteers at RAPTOR. Here's to wishing you a happy Easter and hope it's a beautiful sunshiny day that will help dry out the RAPTOR center.

LauraHinNJ said...

Sounds wonderful, Susan. Lucky you!

Lynne said...

Awww, Susan, Earl looks like a beauty queen with her pearly white beak! She actually looks quite contrite in the picture with Mark. I think she's reeeally sorry she puked on you. I hope you can get rid of the dead rat/puke smell before tomorrow. It might put a damper on your Easter dinner...

Thanks for the Earl the Pearl fix.

Happy Easter! :)

Mary said...

It DOES sound like the show "Dirty Jobs". I knew Earl was nuts but I thought the two of you had a good relationship. Oh, well. Vulture vomit, blood, and big bird poop. How long did you stay in the shower, Susan? LOL!

YOU are dedicated.

Hey, Happy Easter.

eimrek said...

I laughed almost all the way through this post! I volunteered for a few years at SouthEastern Raptor Rehab Center in Auburn, and I volunteer now at Alabama Wildlife Center. I can totally relate! We have a Barred Owl that doesn't like men and acts the same way Earl did. Except for the puking part. Here's to dry days and cooperative birds!!


ncmountainwoman said...

Thanks for the great post. We hardly ever think of the amount of work that goes into caring for raptors. You all deserve a big thank you for bringing everyone through the flooding. And for the cleanup afterwards.

Grace, Every Day said...

Ha. Great post. We're not laughing AT you...we're laughing WITH you, and thankful that people like you care for important things that the rest of us don't notice. I agree with ncmountainwoman and say, "Thank you" for your volunteer work.

And for being so damn funny.

mon@rch said...

Hey, someone has to do the dirty work right? Happy Easter to you and your family!

dguzman said...

Yick! Sounds like a job for SuperSusanGetsNative and her big scrubby brush. That Earl is a brat.

Owlman said...

Jess after reading all that I'm starving! The only part that made me nauseous was when you mentioned spackle. I've spent so many hours in my basement spackling that the mere mention of it makes me .........

Dave said...

And eagle poop is the worlds best epoxy. Great work Suzan.

Anonymous said...

I thought of you a lot when I was on my vacation -- saw some amazing raptors!