CCD: Tell us about your internship experience. What were your responsibilities?
Kaylee: The summer is the busiest season at The Raptor Trust in terms of intake, so the job responsibilities of the Avian Care Interns were quite varied. They included basic care and husbandry of songbirds that were being rehabilitated. We participated in the hourly feedings and diet preparation for orphaned baby birds, as well as learning identification and behavioral observation techniques in order to recognize abnormal behavior. We interacted with the public visiting the facility, as well as those bringing injured birds to us, and we were responsible for inputting information into the data system as well as conveying accurate information about the birds being rehabilitated. We were also responsible for assisting the staff in any duties they required help with, and we learned diagnostic techniques such as fecal and blood testing.
CCD: What was the best thing about the experience? What was the worst?
Kaylee: The best thing about the experience was definitely the close interaction I had with the rehabilitating and orphaned birds. Very often while gaining experience in the veterinary field much of the work is observational, but in this internship I was able to directly interact and learn handling techniques for a variety of species. The worst experience was definitely a portion of the nature of rehabilitative work. By the time birds are able to be captured and brought to us, they are beyond our help and need to be euthanized. I definitely gained a better understanding of the types of situations in which euthanasia is a better option for the birds to relieve their suffering, but at times this portion of the work was emotionally taxing.
CCD: What are the top 3 skills you’ve learned from this experience?
Kaylee: The top three skills I’ve learned are definitely better animal handling skills, scientific diagnostic procedures, and a better developed skill of working cohesively in a group to complete a variety of tasks.
CCD: How has this experience changed your future plans?
Kaylee: I do not think this experience changed any future plans of mine, but it definitely enhanced my interest in the veterinary field. Prior to this experience I was unsure as to whether the veterinary field was right for me, but this internship provided that verification. Furthermore, I began to consider an interest in becoming a veterinarian not only for small animals, but also avian and exotics, which is the type of work I observed this summer.