I don't care what the calendar says, spring is here. If you ask me, we didn't really have a winter this year, just fall, more fall, then spring.
The wife and I got to go to a lecture on raptors the other week. It was held outdoors so the crowd was real big at first because a bunch of onlookers would just wander up and see what was going on. For a lot of people, it was too cold to just stand around, so they didn't stay long. By the time things were done, Dala and I were the only ones there, so I got the chance to shoot the breeze with the presenter and I learned quite a bit about background care for the animals. Here are some things I learned . . .
The birds totally know who the various care takers are and have preferences. If you're known for giving lots of treats, they're a lot more comfortable with you entering their cage than if you're known for being one of the ones for taking them to the vet.
If the bird is on the ground when you enter their enclosure, that's a hard way to start things out, because they're in a vulnerable position and will be stressed because of it. Similarly, if you're stressed about interacting with the bird, they pick up on that and things won't go well, so if you enter the enclosure and are thrown off for any reason, it's best to leave and come back.
When taking a bird out in the open, it's important to be careful. For example, if it jumps off the handler's arm and is attached to the leash, the handler can't twist their wrists because they might damage the bird's ankles. Also, if there are other birds of prey in the area, and they see a handler with an odd hawk or owl or vulture out, they might harass said handler and bird to protect their territory.
Some of the smaller birds aren't as easy to handle for beak trimming and such. So handlers will often put their food on bricks, so while eating, their beaks and claws will rub against the bricks and be worn down naturally that way.
A well taken care of bird can live for about thirty plus years, depending on the species.
Vulture poop absolutely eats through leather leashes. They're also wicked smart and people really take to them for their personalities.
It was a pretty fun ten minute chat and honestly, I gotta say, I kind of wish they talked about behind the scenes stuff when talking about these birds cause some of the stuff involved in their care sounds absolutely fascinating.
Hope you're all doing well, Hubski. 2020 is shaping up to be a crazy year, so be mindful to take good care of yourselves and be good to the people around you.