Week 4 started off the same as most other weeks, with me tending to the pigeons, possums, and doves. As I got more and more qualified to deal with the larger animals, on Wednesday I was assigned to the G and R enclosures which hold raptors. In each was one red-tailed hawk. After observing how to capture the large bird the previous week, I was given the responsibility of doing it on my own while still supervised. I reached into the cage and ended up taking several minutes to grab its upper legs so that I could have a really firm grip. As soon as I pulled it out, I weighed it and had my partner put the medication in its mouth. He was a nice little hawk so he opened his mouth up for us each time.
I then moved on to the R enclosure where I actually had to catch the hawk with a net as it flew around. It took me quite a while and some pondering on how to get it closer to the ground. I lowered the ledges by undoing the ropes so it had nowhere to perch on. As soon as he started hopping on the ground, I was able to catch him. I thought this would be as easy as the first hawk, but I was SO WRONG because it was much harder. This hawk was much more wild and lively so it instantly grabbed my hands with its talons in defense. I really underestimated the strength and sharpness of a bird’s talons when I shouldn’t have. I wasn’t injured but I was surprised. Both of these hawks were brought in from broken wings, most probably after being hit by a car.
After working here for four weeks, I am starting to get a better sense of the most common animals being brought in and what they’re brought In for. So far, it seems to be possums being brought in for worms and being hit by a car.