Some context: As a boarding kennel assistant I was responsible for cleaning the dog, cat, and medical boarding areas a few times a day. Occasionally, owners brought their birds, bearded dragons, and random other exotic animals in. An example of this is a gorgeous male parrot who enjoyed chatting with customers and showing off his head bobbing skills. One day I noticed that mr. parrot had moved into the back cat boarding area instead of his usual place up at the front desk. Ignoring him I continued to sweep cat boarding, deep in my own thoughts.
Mid-sweep I heard a pitchy voice. “Please hold…” I paused. Silence.
“Bitch…” I looked around, embarrassed that I was probably overhearing some employee conversation at the front desk. After determining I was alone I continued to sweep, this time under mr parrots cage. He sauntered up against the bars as if to greet me, looked me straight in the eyes, and shrieked “FUCK YOU, MA’AM.” Apparently he wound up in isolation after picking up some juicy retorts from angry receptionists.
The Red Tail
I often wander around the hospital treatment room hoping something cool ( hit-by-car jackaloupe?) will bust through the door and I will perform fantastical tasks and save the day. This doesn’t ever happen, however occasionally I get to help the vet and it is awesome.
One day my supervisor told me to “go grab the red-tail from the large aviary” so she could force feed and examine him. Without prior experience capturing a three-foot adult raptor, I felt a bit uneasy. Upon entering his enclosure, I noted the scary animal handling steps…
- Observe the area, and then the animal you are about to capture to determine how it reacts to you and how to best proceed without causing stress.
- Don’t freak out
- Repeat number 2 as needed.
He rocketed himself back and forth across the aviary a handful of times before landing on the edge of his crate on the floor. I took a deep breath, approached, reached forward, and scooped him up by his legs (Kevlar gloves make this challenging, they had to order extra small ones for me), cradling his body against my chest. Task completed! 🙂
The Attack Junco
Seriously every time I went to feed this little bugger it would attempt to woodpecker my hand… If someone was hand-feeding you delicious, homemade meals would you bite them? obviously yes says dark-eyed junco.
In order to handle eagles, hawks, and the like I attended a scary animal handling class at the museum. Basically we fondled drugged chickens and pretended they were malicious herons waiting to peck out our eyes. I honestly felt kind of bad… but we rescued them from getting turned into McNuggets so the least they could do as a thank you was roll around and cooperate.
PS. sorry about the language, mr parrot just cannot be tamed.
Question of the day:
Do you have a favorite bird? Does it like to peck you?