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|December 15, 2010 - Sarah Dunn|
Today I worked in pen 1 with Niki, which includes baldies and chesties. Baldies are chicks that have lost their feathers and are in the process of re-growing them and chesties have some congestion of some sort when they breathe. Niki was kind to me and took care of the most of the chesties which required administering medications. I mainly took care of the healthiest of this group, about 15 or so of them.
This group of birds required more shelter at night so first thing in the morning we had to move them to outdoor pens. This task doesn't sound too difficult but does require picking up each individual bird and putting up to about six or so at a time in a crate, sliding the crate across to another side and then individually lifting them into the outdoor pens for some fresh air for the day. I historically don't experience too many back problems, but this definitely requires some back and ab strength!! We are fortunate at Mystic Aquarium, all of our birds will shift in when we rattle their gate and then once inside we can put a ramp down and they know where to go on their own from there.
As Laurie mentions in her blogs and I have earlier, a lot of time is then spent tube feeding darrows, formula, water, and fish to the birds. Throughout the day there were a couple of birds that started to stand out from the others. In my section, pen C, there was one with bit darker head but even though he is still a chick he has the shape of a white C like the adult feathers coming though. Throughout the day, anytime I would pick up one of the birds, this one would vocalize at me and his vocals came out bit like a honk. It was humorous.
In Niki’s pen, she had chick 800 that swears it’s never been fed, even though that is what we are doing most of the day. This bird continues to peep and peep and peep to the point that it almost sounds like it is screaming. Knowing that it is fine and well fed, we had to chuckle at this.
Most of the group did well today. I, however, did notice one bird that seemed fine in the morning and after two feedings of either water or formula and fish seemed very lethargic, lying flat. Midafternoon, Niki made the call to take this bird upstairs to the ICU for closer monitoring. The two birds I was concerned about yesterday are still hanging in there.
I am completely amazed at how hard and long this group of staff and volunteers are working. The volunteers are so appreciated, but do come and go after a bit of time. The staff does not get a break until the birds are through this. They have great patience and diligence and I hope I can return to Mystic with a bit more of both from my experience here. To Celinda…yes I am eating well. Just too many carbs since they are easier to make where I am staying. Last night I ate pretty good though, they took me to a pizza place, I think it was called the Blue Peter, it had a view of Table Mountain at sunset and we ate pizza with a Savanah beer! It was great! The pizza is cooked in brick oven fire. I highly recommend the chicken and mushroom!
Skittish African Penguins cross a road on Robben Island in South Africa.
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