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Bird handling

November 29, 2005

I’ve been volunteering at the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program for about 9 months now. One of the chief reasons I started there was to handle birds for programs and exhibits for the general public, so that I could share my enthusiasm and conservation concerns for these creatures. I have been in training for handling the birds the past couple months, which takes a while, but is thoroughly engrossing. So far I’ve trained with several approved educational birds (nonreleaseable birds which have been trained for regular human contact):

  • Merlin
  • American Kestrels (Blind, and the Fractured Humerus)
  • Burrowing Owl
  • Swainson’s Hawks (Male, and Female)
  • Red-tailed Hawk (Blind)
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Great Horned Owl (Light-phase)

The parenthetical descriptions are there to distinguish one particular ed bird from another of the same species. (Pet names are not given to any birds, the idea being that doing so might give the general public the impression that they are pets, which they are not. It helps retain a respect for the animals.)

There are several other ed birds I’ve yet to handle. It’ll probably be another couple months before I’m fully evaluated as an “E1” (educational bird handler, for all birds except eagles). But when I’m finally legit I’ll try to post a pic or two of me in action. Also, I’ll be commenting on other personal issues as they pertain to my work at the RMRP in later posts.

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