WOO HOOO I’m on Vacation!! At my day job at Starbucks we use the “federal” fiscal calendar, so our year is October – Sept …we have a “use it or lose it” policy for vacation…. I had 1 day left to use before the end of the month…. What better use than to use that as a Sarvey day?!?! I’m sure some of you are thinking um I can think of about 50 ways I’d rather use that… and I can only think of 1… my family and since they are all either working or in school I’m going to “donate” that day to Sarvery Wildlife Care Center…..I get up as my wife leaves for work, coffee, take care of some online stuff and finish the last few laps that I haven’t seen of the Singapore Grand Prix (Formula 1 Race) that I had recorded, it is vacation after all I get a little leeway, plus I don’t want to hit rush hour traffic top get there… ok time to goooooo, prep the hosue for Dukie to be alone with his sisters the cats..until Momma gets home from work, apologize for not taking him with me and give him some treats… and sneak out the door.. As usual I hit safeway and buy up their buthers specials, grab a couple things of paper towels (Brawny this time, because they had special packaging to support the troops), a couple jugs o’ bleach, a sandwich, pop, water etc… and on the road… oh you want to know what kid of music was on this time? Hahah you think it was Bruce you say? Nope surprise surprise surprise …it’s what I and Sirius like to call “Prime Country” I was feeling mellow and had my killer “morning voice” on so something to sing along to and think I sound good haha….oom papa oom papa ooom papa mau mau…. 80’s and 90’s country… .traffic is still lame but with the music it’s tolerable… 2 hours later I’m at SWCC. I walk in the door to the clinic and get a surprise greeting HI MIKE!!! Boy am I ever glad you are here!!! Hahahah I laugh yeah right ok I’ll bite, why’s that? Because we have NO ONE here that can do the outside work… ahhhhh I see well I’m happy to do anything and everything anytime I am here you gotta job no one wants to do give it to Mikey , hey Mikey he likes it, Hey Mikey…. Unload the truck and make people smile with my paper towels and meat…. Oh my that sounds wrong but you know what I mean… and then for the uh oh….oopsy dang Safeway brand Bleach… well one and half bottles will have to do and I guess I better open all the windows in the truck or I will die from asphyxiation on the way home….yep I now have a very fresh and clean and probably soon to be WHITE spotted back bench seat in my truck……just gives it more character!
Ok so since I’m the only one here for outside, I get to pick and choose what I do when….. so let’s get the stinky, nastiness out of the way first and save the Eagles for last…at least that was the plan in my mind… so guess where I’m headed ? yep you got it the Chain Links for the raccoons. They are all doing really well, looking healthy and happy which is great news, I was pretty worried about them last week…. But they are good, even “Satan” the mean fatty coon lol….(He was given that name by one of the leads, because he has bitten her several times through heavy gloves, also through her SHOES and is just generally not a happy guy…. In the very first enclosure, I’m in there cleaning away and these cute little coons are lined up in two rows, head to toe but in opposite directions… Now If you’ve ever had or seen horses preen each other, they stand opposite each other but even length wise ( the head of one is at the tail of the other alongside each other) ….so imagine 6 coons lined up that way and they are just going to town preening away , it’s very adorable… all of them checking each other and making happy sounds… they don’t even notice I’m there much at all… well apparently it felt a little TOO good for one of them he ( yep I know for a fact it was a he….) decides the preenin’ party is over and everyone better stand back except for you lovely lady coon…. What’s a perty little bandit like you doing in a joint like this anyway? My your mask looks beautiful today is it new? And do your little paws hurt? Why no why should my paws hurt hee hee, because you’ve been running through my mind all day…. Oooh hee hee you’re silly …. You had me at snarl…. Whoa there you guys I’m cleaning in here….. wow you really don’t care that I’m here you must be used to me…Ok well you all have a nice day I’m just going to avert my eyes and move on to the next enclosure….thanks for letting me clean your temporary homes…. So I finish up the 4 raccoon chain links and move on to the Eastern Grey Squirrel area… there’s a number of them (always) in there and I explain to them about their cousin that was caught eating my woodpecker suet feeders this morning before I came to Sarvey and when they get out could they please pass the word to do that at someone else’s house but really it would be best if they could just find their food in the wilderness like they are ‘posed to……..oh well thanks for letting me clean your temporary home …just working my way north through the list of to-do’s and the layout of the place…. My next stop is “Pine Alley” what are called the pine flights… ( a lot of the different sets of flights are named after trees – Pine, Alder, Maple, etc…….) first up is a one eyed snowy owl….a feisty one at that!! I go in and start to clean up and BAM he dive bombs me..DUCK…no no no…OWL not a DUCK get it right puny human!! OK OK OWL I give….lookout!! so this owl thinks I’m his personal play toy…flying circles around me as I am cleaning … scrub, scrub DUCK (er I mean OWL dangit….)..rake rake OWL, stop it now I said OWL!! I’ve never really be up close and personal with a snowy owl like this before they have big feathers even on their tootsies… very cute.. unless those feathery talons “get ya” I ‘spect… well he didn’t get me with his talons thankfully though I did get wing whacked a few times… a lead walks by when this is happening and calls it a muppet assault LOL…. They do kind of look like muppets…well thanks Snowy for letting me clean your flight, one eye or not I say you are ready for the wild once again!! Next is Coop, I call him Coop now…and I can do that…..but that’s later…. For now, just cleaning our the flight of a beautiful Coopers Hawk. A few fly bys as he had fresh quail that he decided I needed the head of…. he picked up the head and dropped it next to me as I was cleaning…… I picked it up and put it in my yuck bucket and moved the rest of the quail “parts” to a perch for him to chow on when I had left…. Thanks Coop for the first gift…. We’ll see more of you later… next up is Ms. Merlin, a little cuite patootie…in here miniature pine forested flight that I have to treat like a Marine Corps confidence course with her as the live ammo flying just above my head as I’m crawling around pickin’ up parts…I’m pickin’ up parts….. exhuming things that’s better left alone…. ( an old Randy Travis song…. Diggin’ up Bones….) we got her cleaned out though…thanks Merlin for letting me clean your flight have a nice day cutie pie……gulp next is dare I say it….nope not yet… so these flights ( the Coopers Hawk, The Meriin, and this next one ) are all the same size, they are about 30 feet long by 20 feet wide and roughly 30 feet tall with half of it being under cover and the other half of the roof with “anti Eagle” netting… so in this next flight is a..what you already guessed it? Am I THAT transparent???? Well fine but you don’t know that it’s a ….oh you do know it’s a Juvie ABE….did you also know that it’s being hunted? So it’s not JUST the Eagle it’s also a Rat that the Eagle won’t catch and eat……. She’s on Day 2 of nothing but the live rat and her…… that is until I come in to clean…. And she’s none too pleased about the additional company….. yikes!! Well Yikes for you all, for me it’s WOO HOO an Eagle just a few feet away squeezing and cawing up a storm… , nothing between us but air, I can FEEL the breath when she screams at me… nothing between us AT ALL…… I can see her shiny black talons, she’s sitting on her perch with her “thumbs” in the air rocking back and screaming at me to not steal her friend the rat and why didn’t I bring her some food?? Well hi there pretty lady sorry I can’t give you any food, you need to eat your friend the rat… whoosh whomp whomp squeeee squuaaaw! WOWOWOWOWIE Great to see you so close I appreciate the wing whack I honestly do….thanks for not skewering me with those pretty nails you have… sorry but I have to clean…. Then you need to hunt and then be free!!!! On with the cleaning…. So this Eagle… let me tell ya…. She decides that she really would like more space than is in this flight… she flies up to the tippy top dead center in the flight where there are two cross members holding up the netting….she decides she’d like to be between the netting and the cross ..oh crap she’s stuck… well crap what do I do now?? Well she got herself in there maybe giver her a minute and she can get herself out… just don’t freak her out and it should be OK… tick tock tick tock….ok it’s been a minute, her left wing is hangin’ down and she’s “squished” between the wood and the netting with the X of the cross right in her chest and she’s got that wild eyes HOLY S%$# look about her… Ok maybe I should go get a ladder and a partner….. I start to go out of the flight and she calls sqqqeeeee don’t leave me like this… well crap pretty girl I have to …this is the reverse of Timmy’s stuck in the well…. Susie is stuck in the ceiling and I’m Lassie… arf arf arf… so I again start to leave and she calls me back and is kind of changing positions… so I figure maybe if I can get in a position that she want’s to ge away from I can help her maneuver her way out of the predicament.. so I’m standing basically directly under her behind ( please don’t PS, Please don’t PS) and just me being there in her “vulnerable spot” get her to move over to her left without making her feathers go the wrong way in the net and she shimmies her way out from being pinned!! You did it Susie ARF ARF ARF and Lassie helped LOL…… ok so don’t do that again OK?? Finish up cleaning her flight, thanks for letting me clean your flight sweetie sorry if I scared you to get stuck….now catch that RAT!!! Whew time for a walk through the clinic to visit the in patients.. Hi Peregrine, good to see you doing better, hello Seagulls and baby squirrels and bunnies, hi there coons and a mink I see you’re still on lock down…. Hello all you pretty little song birds, crows, grosbeaks, robins and woodpeckers…. Make my way back to medical and lo and behold it’s “Bob” non too pleased ..it’s “pill time”…. I meet M the weekday Med Tech who I haven’t met before, another great person!! And we talk about Bob, Bob’s doing great In case you don’t know Bob, he’s an Adult American Bald Eagle with half of one wing amputated. Bob is the Eagle I found injured in the big flight last week and helped get treated… Bob is recovering nicely and has found a permanent home once he’s travel worthy at a Zoo in Ohio to live out his life as an ambassador of his species with other Eagle friends. He is really doing well, they re-wrap his wing and give his his pills and back to R&R for Bob..bye bye Bob… Back to the mines for me!! ( they are Diamond mines though not coal)…. So off to see my buddy Ista the Peregrine Falcon that tested me my 1st day, we’re bosom buddies now… she doesn’t mind me at all anymore and we have great conversations about the other volunteers and how beautiful she is and how good Quail is, how nice her talons look today and oh Ista you have a hunk of Quail on your beak..Oh my how embarrassing, thank you for telling me friend let me feak that right off…. Much better… you don’t mind if I finish this quail while you clean do you> No no of course not Ista this is your home, I’m just the housekeeper, you can call me Alice if you like.. or Mr. Belvedere…..your wish is my command… ok well all done pretty lady thanks for letting me tidy up , enjoy your quail and have a great day, I hope to see you again soon. Next up…the Raven… not Rex the Educational Raven in the Yurts up front ( jmy wife’s “friend) but a new Raven that is supposed to become and educational bird because it is imprinted on humans so cannot be released… oh this guy is a HOOT not like an Owl HOOT but as in a prankster, practical Joker, so I get my yuck bucket and my scrub bucket, my rake and the hose all “staged “ in the airlock, close the door behind me and open the door to his flight… while I was “staging” my stuff he knew what was going down, so he positioned himself (unbeknownst to me) just above the door opening into his flight….I walked in and he let loose with a nice juicy one…. Mmm so that’s how we’re gonna play this huh? Aye-ite….nice one Score: Raven 1 Mikey Zip…. Ok so do the walk through pickin’ up “stuff” and this guy is chasing me around everywhere I go …very curious and he has me laughing very hard… I got the giggles now with this guy… he’s a hoping and flying jumping and jivin’… all the “gunk” is picked up and I grab the scrub bucket…. And start scrubbin’…he doesn’t like that.. .and decides to take the brush from me…. he hops up on the log that I’m scrubbing , hops over to me and with his beak he grabs the bristles of the brush and yanks it out of my hand! Nice one..Raven 2 Mike 0, ok gimmee that back funny guy…so I’m laughing my a$$ off by this point I get the brush back and the Raven is still “stalking” me everywhere I scrub…this raven isn’t that big really about twice the size of your average crow, and he really is beautiful so black that he looks almost purple in the sun and I don’t think he ever “shut up” cawing and screaming at me… so I continue scrubbing with my new buddy “helping” like your 4 year old “helps” you fold laundry… or your puppy helps you pull weeds in the garden….. the kind of help that really causes you extra work but you love it anyway… scrub scrub scrub hop hop peck , caw , ack ack, caw peck ouch, quit it, no… hey what are you doing?? I look down at my thumb and see red… uh oh did this guy just draw blood?? Oh no it’s squished up strawberry guts whew hahaha….peck and WOW it’s gone…thanks for the clean up on aisle “mike” raven … I continue with scrubbing and he continues with assaulting me….and I’m laughing and shooing him off etc…. well one of the leads walks by and sees him harassing me and say OH my…are you ok? Oh yes I’m fine this is fun and hilarious…. Well we’ve heard about him acting like this but we haven’t seen it yet… oh really I say and I turn towards her to carry on the conversation with a “perch” behind my head and I see her eyes flick over my right shoulder and her face drop and the start of a warning when out of the blue I feel talons on the back of my head… uh oh… HEY GET OFF HIM she screams as I reach up to remove the raven from my skull … he decides to jump down to a perch and proceeds to chomp my ear a couple times HARD as I put hand up to bat him away from my extra-large, and now bleeding ear he proceeds to “bite” my arm and my hand and my arm and my ear and my hand ….Raven 50 Mike Zip… In comes the lead and grabs the rake in the very hitchcockian scene, blood and raven seemingly everywhere at once… she demands control, you WILL OBEY LOL she’s a tiny little thing ( compared to me) about 5’ 4” maybe 105 soaking wet and I’m guessing 25 years old at the most…. But a PISTOL ….and she verbally lays into that raven like he’s a red headed step child!! So for the rest of the scrub down she “stands guard” …I tell her it’s OK I can handle it, but nope she wants to stay to teach the raven that it can’t molest the volunteers….OK so I go about my business finish up scrubbing and then I tell her seriously, now I have the hose and the rake that really I can handle this…..OK well don’t let him get away with anything! She says treat him like he’s your kid and you can spank him hahaha… ok so she takes off and leaves me alone with who I am now calling “Arthur” …..so I start hosing down the joint and low and behold he loves the hose!!! He’s playing in it just like my dog !! chasing the stream and trying to “drink from the fire hose” then I filled up his water bowl and he decided it was sh-bath time..(shower and bath all in one) I’m trying to fill it up and he’s doing all he possible can to empty it out he’s full on in it ducking his whole body under then coming up and shaking like a wet doggie….all his feathers are standing on end and he looks like a puffed up pure black rooster! With all I’ve done I probably had the biggest grin at this playtime…I wrap that up and lastly I have to rake the gravel.. same stuff he hopped and yelled but respected the rake and kept his distance… I’m giving myself a point for that one so I didn’t get skunked!! Raven 50 Mike 1. Well that was fun, seriously that WAS FUN!!! So Thank you “Arthur” for letting me clean your flight and for giving me a cool new set of scars I love you!! Have a great day!!! So with my cool new wounds that will be scars soon ( I see Scars as Tattoos with cooler stories) I head out to grab a quick break….check my new look in the truck mirror and snap a pic of my ear and one of the “nips” on my hand … super cool!! Grab some antiseptic stuff from medical (everyone yelled at me and told me I had to disinfect it NOW LOL) clean myself up and back to work!! What’s next on the list… ….Hey Mike are you doing anything t right now one of the leads says.. nope I say just looking at the list to see what’s next…. OH well since you’re trained now can you take care of Baxter? The Bobcat? SWEET um I mean , yes I guess I can do that…grab his “chow” which looks delectable to me..a couple really nice looking steaks! Grab a scrub bucket and a yuck bucket with an extra bag, a rake, the hose and the key to his enclosure.. Bax is ready for me he’s just a big kitty kitty ..he’s purring so loud it hurts me, he’s laying on his back squirming and sayin’ pppppppllllease rub my belly …oh you’re breaking my heart here Bax… I want to pet you so bad an just rub your ears and smooth your whiskers back ..but I can’t it’s not allowed waaaaaahhhh I so want to well I can’t so let’s get busy…Ok Bax you have to go into the side area through the Guillotine passage so I can get in the main enclosure and clean up the place and put a mint on your pillow… place the meat in the side area, now up with the guillotine, close one gate, open the other, close it behind..go around and let Baxter in that area… oh you don’t really want to go in there? You just really want a belly rub? I can’t Baxter, you eat your steaks.. please? I have to clean.. NO I DON’T WANNA I WANT A BELLY RUB!!! ..off I go to try to find someone because I don’t know what to do at this point , he won’t go in the side area for his steak….. and I can’t make him hahaha… no one to be found…well maybe with me out of sight he went in there..so I sneeeeeeeaaaaak back around the corner and no Baxter to be seen….peek a little more, no Baxter… oh good he must be in with the steaks… so hurry up to the fence to lower the guillotine and lock him in that side.. oh he’s not in there??!!?? What the heck Baxter where are AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HOLY S%$# OHMYGOSHOHMYGOSHOHMYGOSH ok BP is through the roof heart rate is beating out of my chest and I have Bobcat PAWS inches from BOTH Lungs… My goodness they are FAST!! He just wanted to play wiff me…. why did you scream like that Mikey? So Baxter was hiding in the corner under a ledge waiting on me hahaha when I got close to the fence BAM he was on me…. time to clean the britches out and go get help!! Oh Pistol Leader LOL.. what do I do? He won’t go in the side area… Oh he does that sometimes and you just have to give up… OH hells no I don’t give up… it needs cleanin’ I’m cleanin’ it one way or t’other…Ok well let me see what he’s doing… you go in that side and I’ll go in this side… she walks in and Baxter immediately goes to his steaks, I lower the guillotine and poof 2 seconds he’s where he needs to be and I can clean… HAHAHA nice test Baxter… did I pass? I think so because I came back for more and I didn’t give up so we’re even Baxter 1 Mike 1, whatever it’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it! The funny thing is once I got in to clean Baxter’s enclosure it wasn’t really that messy… no poop that I could find , rake up some nasty “marked” straw and some “secret squirreled” Chicken parts, fill up the water dishes , empty the pool, scrub it out and refill it…meanwhile Baxter is still not interested in the steaks, he’s laying in wait for me under the ledge in the side enclosure hoping I’ll get close enough to the fence for him to wrap his arms around me and give me a big ole bobcat hug…well fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me… and I don’t play shame on me very often Bax..so sorry….chalk another one for me ..Baxter 1 Mikey 2 w00t w00t…thanks Baxter for finally letting me clean your enclosure, have a great day, I wish I could stay and play but gotsta work… I know all work and no play make Mikey a dull boy but it is what it is, but I suspect there are some folks that disagree about me being dull , Just sayin’… dense maybe but not dull ahaha……how did this report get to be longer than the “two day in a row report??” oh well sorry dear reader but there is more still….. plus photos and a video…. Ok so far we’ve had coon sex, Ear, hands and arms bitten enough to bleed, and given an MI ( Myocardial Infarction AKA Heart Attack or Coronary) along with a full load in the britches (not really , though I am rather “ripe” at this point) time for something a weee bit less stressful…. The Yurts!! Let’s go talk to Rex the Raven and the talking crows about their cousin!!! Off I go , hi Crows you guys sure look great and not to messy this time..thanks for letting me clean have a nice day… well howdy Rex, we need to chat….. ( seriously I talk to these guys) you’re cousin had it’s way with me …can you please have a chat with him because while I personally thought it was a blast, I’m thinking that some young kid volunteer ( I think 15 is the youngest allowed) will NOT have a good time with that experience and we want our utes to appreciate and enjoy nature and the Wildones…thanks you’re a wise Raven, enjoying your educational ambassadorship…ohh you want the hose? Sure and tell my gorgeous wife you said hi? Well I can certainly do that I’ll even give her a smooch for you! Anything for you Rex…thanks for letting me clean up, you have yourself a great evening.. it’s now getting on in the day , nearly 5PM time to think about the drive…Oh crap it’s an actual weekday….that means ugly , 3rd worst traffic in the nation rush hour evilness..oh well so in I go to check out, say good bye to Bob..and the Ambulance pulls up.. I meet the lead “rescue tech” a very calm cool and collected guy ,he’s got an injure Coyote in a carrier, we get it into medical and I ask if I may stay and help…sure you can!! Well turns out this poor Coyote was much to badly injured to survive, she had head trauma, was completely blind in both eyes, emaciated and covered in mange, literally no fur, the poor thing, breaks your heart. I know that people think Coyotes and Raccoons and Possums etc…are “varmints” and pests but they are Mother Nature’s children in my heart and mind, they are all beautiful and deserve a chance to live their lives, it’s mankind that is the pest..sorry that’s how I feel and this “journal” of mine is for honesty and something to share with my grandkids maybe someday and help them appreciate nature and the Wildones… anyway so we help the poor coyote on it’s way, and I dedicate it’s peaceful passing to a dear new friend. Well I hate to leave on that note but it’s late and I have a brutal dive facing me… so I’m gonna pack it up and head out… thank you Coyote for letting me help release you from your pain , enjoy the rainbow bridge and chasing happy bunnies forever… thank you Sarvey team fro allowing me to help you help the Wildones…let’s hit the road… grab my frozen water from the freezer, wash up and almost get in my truck..HEY MIKE..yes ma’am? You live way south right I sure do.. you wanna take a Coopers Hawk home and release it? DUH would I ever…. Oh sure I can do that no problem… (WOOHOO YIPPPPEEE another release and a bigger Raptor YESYESYESYESYES!!) ok for this one you’ll need a permit, let’s go get that filled out… alrighty then.. paperwork in hand let’s go get the Cooper’s hawk, you mean the one I cleaned his flight earlier? Yep that’s the one, we have another that’s ready to move in so it’s good that it’s clean…cool cool cool… ok grab the Raptor net, a towel and the carrier, in we go the Medical person that I ‘d just met today and I , and she asks me have you ever caught a bird before, I said Like a seasoned Veteran, do Eagles, Osprey and Turkey Vultures count? Hahahaa ye they count ok so she tries to get him with the net and he easily dodges her, goes to the corner of the flight behind me on the ground and I think Jessie Owens took control of my body because the next thing I now I’m on top of “Coop” with the towel and have my hand on his back in the just right spot, I scoop him up and wrap him into me just like I was a pro what the heck? Instincts? A born Raptor Wrangler ? or just dumb luck? I’ll let you be the judge… I don’t care hahaha I caught him and peacefully got him into the carrier , draped the towel over it and said, we got him, let’s go J Ok here’s your permit good luck! Thanks again Sarvey you all ROCK!! On the road again I go, I take the back roads out of there rather than the evil that is I-5… I choose the back way , through Granite Falls with breathtaking views of Mt. Pilchuck and the Cascade range, along Highway 92 past Machias and Lake Stevens, Snohomish and Clearview, into Woodinville and onto the freeway… this whole time I have that same country music on the radio, not too loud because I don’t wanna scare “Coop” and he’s doing fine with it… Until Garth Brooks comes on.. WHOA flapflapflapslamscrapesqueek, Coops not happy, Coop doesn’t think Garth is legit…. As soon as the song is over he calms down… hmm was it really Garth? A little later another GB song comes on and sure enough Coop freaked again, it must be something with his voice or the music that I can’t hear but yep it’s definitely Garth LOL..Ok..so by now it’s getting pretty late n the day and I may be running out of daylight before I get home and I don’t want to release Coop in the dark… so I callmy wife and beg her ( I didn’t have to beg, she would help me with anything anytime no questions asked, but for the sake of the story , I begged LOL) I begged her to meet me at a place about half way between where I was and home so we could release Coop to give him the best chance to settle in for his freedom….well that’s on video found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYclEr9G7pU (copy and paste the link to your browser) that tells a much better story than I can…. Coop was released for D12 ( the 12th Eaglet from the Decorah Eagle Family that was tragically killed by a power pole in July of 2012) and also fro my friend Boomer who had a rough experience at her volunteering at a Raptor Rehab center in California. Fly Free Coop, thanks for letting us release you to release part of me!!!