Animal Science: Captive Raptor Management
Summer College 2012
Hi everyone! My name is Ivy, and I have grown up in Hinsdale, MA (a small town in Western Massachusetts). I have just completed my junior year at Miss Hall’s School, and I am going to be studying Animal Science: Captive Raptor Management this summer at SC. I am so excited to participate in this program because I love birds. I have both ducks and pigeons, and I have a great respect for nature.
I enjoy hiking, biking, camping, swimming, soccer, lacrosse, painting, and reading. I have also participated in the JDRF Death Valley Ride to Cure Diabetes for the past three years, and I will ride again in October. I cannot wait to start the program and meet others attending Summer College.
I have already learned so much in about raptors in my class. We have an upcoming term paper due on Friday, and a group presentation the last week of SC. Our labs are especially fun and interesting. We go out to the raptor barns every other afternoon. The first day we met all of the raptors and learned how to tie a falconer's knot (which I need to keep practicing). We also prepare food every time: young chicken, quail, and day-old chicks, and feed most of the raptors. I learned how to hold a raptor, and I have held Zorro the Spectacled Owl, Tim an American Kestrel, and Ike a Harris's Hawk. We also made jesses (which help attach leashes to raptors) and imped feathers (repaired feathers). Along with these activities, we have been doing so many other things I would not be able to write them all down.
I have not had any problems with my food allergies here. Everyone at the dining hall is so helpful and wants to make my experience here an amazing one. During my short stay here, I have also gone on two field trips with my Captive Raptor Management class. The first was to Treman State Park where we swam and had a picnic dinner, then went out for ice cream (where there was some that I could eat!). Then we went to the zoo in Syracuse yesterday (Saturday). I have been working on my group project this weekend along with hanging out, playing cards, and hiking with my friends. I can't believe that it has one week has already gone by!
During lab this past week we have been handling the birds more. We have seen and helped with health checks and capturing untrained Northern goshawks, Harris’s hawks, and Sharp-shinned hawks from their aviaries. Of course, this all includes cleaning their aviaries (we could only do about two a day as a class).
This weekend I finished my research paper about enrichment for captive raptors (the due date was moved to Monday), and now I am off to work on my group presentation about raptor banding. I also went to see The Amazing Spider-Man at Ithaca mall, which was a lot of fun.
There is a lot going on this next week. We have our presentations, a final exam, and a practical exam for lab. Saturday will be here too quickly along with the closing ceremony.
The last day was busy even though I had packed the day before. We had a chance to show our families the birds before going home. It is nice to be home, but I miss being at Cornell with my friends. At home, four pigeons hatched while I was at Cornell, and I was very happy to see them. This week, I saw three Red-tailed Hawks circling in my yard, which was very interesting having just taken a course about raptors. I am so glad that I had the experience of Summer College and I am excited about going to college in a year.