Today we had a visit from Dr. Shelli Dubay's Techniques of Captive Wildlife Management class from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point. Each year Shelli brings her students up to REGI to learn avian rehabilitation techniques from the best in the field, Marge Gibson.
Photo above: Marge is teaching the students proper raptor handling techniques. When properly handled, our patients do not feel threatened and can be examined with minimal stress. We do not sedate our patients for examinations, there is no need as long as the patients are handled with care and are shown respect.
Photo above: This Barred Owl was brought in a few weeks ago suffering from starvation. You may remember her from a previous blog. She provided the students with an excellent example of the proper way to care for a starving animal. When birds are found with starvation, our first instinct may be to give them solid food. As Marge explained to the students, a starving bird's digestive system cannot handle solid food right away and instead we must feed a liquid diet until the bird is able to regain strength and handle small amounts of solid food. This owl is recovering very well and is on solid food once again. She will be placed in a flight enclosure to regain the muscles necessary for flight her body absorbed during starvation.
Photo above: As you can see, our clinic was at full capacity, but we made it work.
Photo above: Marge allows the students a close-up look at a Bald Eagle, the closest look that many of these students have ever had.
Photo above: Marge teaches the students about proper enclosure construction from inside the flight building. She discussed everything from proper dimensions to substrate material.
Photo above: The students also got a super-condensed introduction to how we give tours. Here, Education Coordinator, Molly McKay teaches the students about Turkey Vultures.
Photo above: Upon their departure, Dr. Dubay and the students pose for a parting group shot.
This visit was especially exciting for me because just one year ago I attended this same field trip as one of Dr. Dubay's students. It was great to see some familiar faces from my alma mater, UW-SP. Attending the field trip were a couple of our future interns for this coming summer, Kyle Lannon and Katherine Tesch. We were excited to see them and look forward to getting to know them this summer.
We wish all of the students luck in their futures!
REGI Wildlife Educator