Thursday, February 25, 2010

Home Again, My Vacation Filled with Birds

( Photo: Ring-billed Gull on the Florida coast.)

I took a little time off to get some sun and re balance before spring hits. From today forward I will not have a day off until late August.

Wildlife rehabilitation is a hard job and not only physically. It is hard to care for critically injured birds constantly. Most people don't realize that in wildlife rehabilitation there is no such thing as an 8 hour day. Dealing with injured or critical patients is just like any hospital. You can't just go home after your shift. With non-profits like REGI, the funds are not there to hire adequate staff AND give excellent medical care and quality food and housing for the patients. I am the Executive Director, but I am also the one that does the after hours care 24-7. Getting away even for a few days, is a very good thing.

I am a source of frustration for my family when on vacation . Birds somehow invade my life even when I am suppose to be enjoying green trees, blooming flowers and family. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE spending time with my family and the green grass, flowers and all those other things, but when most people see a lovely pine tree, I see the Red-shouldered Hawk beginning courtship behavior IN the tree. Most people see three Sandhill Cranes on the roadside. I see a pair of adult Sandhills and their colt from last year. The adults, preparing their youngster in earnest, to be on his own, as their new breeding season approaches.

We went on a fantastic air boat ride. We had the opportunity to see incredible wildlife. Introducing our grandson to this beautiful habitat and the birds and animals that populate it, was a thrill I will never forget. As wonderful as it is to educate the public...

( Photo: An American Alligator didn't move fast enough for my camera in this photo. )

Then, as quickly as the alligators plunged into the river, I saw Purple Gallinules wandering the same marshes. If everyone has plenty of food available sharing the same habitat isn't an issue. It does keep the population strong. The weak do not survive. They especially do not survive to breed. That in itself keeps the genetics of wild animals absolute perfection. While we may have a little catch in our throat about that reality, it is as it should and needs to be to maintain a strong and viable wild population.

( Photo: A Great-blue Heron ( look hard in the center) stands on a clump of dead grass hunting while several alligators lounge in the waters below him. It gives a whole new meaning to the term, " You snooze, you lose".

( Photo: Black Vultures sit on the bank waiting for the remains of the alligators last meal to become available.)

So, that is how it was. It was a great time with my terrific family. I got a little sunshine, in a year when sun has not been in abundance in Florida. But, no matter where I go or what I do, birds always fill every one of my senses. I think that is a good thing. Seeing birds wild and strong, refocuses me on the importance of our work and making sure when our patients leave REGI they are perfect in every way and back to 100%. They have to be to survive and thrive in their complex natural world.

( Photo: A non-bird I couldn't resist. )

So, I am home. The blog will be back up to speed now.
Remembering my late mothers birthday today. She would have been 98 today.
Have a great day everyone.

Marge Gibson © 2010

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