When I first came to the bird sanctuary, I knew next to nothing about birds. I mean, I knew facts that I had learned in a general biology class, but that was it. I knew nothing about how tricky they are to care for and rehabilitate. I also had no idea how much I loved these creatures. This summer has been, without a doubt, the summer of a lifetime.
The majority of my job was as the bird care intern was, obviously, bird care. This included cleaning cages, meal prep, and feeding every day. It also meant that I had the opportunity to take baby birds home with me at the end of the day to give them overnight care. My favorite part of bird care, however, was when people would bring sick or injured birds in for us to care for. This part of my internship was what helped reignite my passion for becoming a veterinarian. Being able to do my best to help the helpless is more rewarding than words can begin to describe. Yes, this job can come with significant heartbreak, but being able to nurse an animal back to health makes every bit of sadness worth it.
My internship extended beyond bird care as well. Part of being an intern at OBS means that you get to take on a project. I personally had two different projects. The first project was to help advertise for the bird sanctuary. This was done by painting and hiding rocks. If you are unaware, there are groups of people who do this as a way to have fun and interact with their local communities. All they do is paint and hide rocks. Many people post pictures of their finds on social media to share the fun with others but that is not required. Doing this for the bird sanctuary was a fun way to spread the word about our facility to people of all ages. Overall, I hid about thirty rocks in Mansfield and the surrounding towns. By using the hashtag “OBSRocks,” we will hopefully be able to see how far the rocks travel.
My second project was also a bit artistic. In high school, I gained experience with a program called Google Sketchup. This is a 3D modeling program that can be used for a wide array of projects, both professional and personal. To help people have a tangible example of our facilities, I created two different models. The first was for our newest enclosure which will hold Tahoe, our juvenile Bald Eagle. This allows visitors to be able to see what the finished product will look like. The other model was of our flight cage. This building isn’t common in Ohio, which is why many facilities send birds to OBS for flight conditioning. The flight cage isn’t open to the public, so by creating a model of it, people can better understand how it works and what it actually looks like.
When I began my internship, I knew it would be a good way to boost my resume for vet school and I was extremely enthusiastic to begin working. However, I had no idea how deeply my work here would affect me. The physical labor was hard, but the hardest part of these past few months was saying goodbye to the people and animals that made it amazing.