Say Hi to my friend Kelly. She is my mentor for the Great Gray Owl that I've been training with for a while now. She had a presentation today at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art and the Hunters of the Sky exhibit. You might remember that the other week I was there with my wife Ruth.
There are a couple things that make this presentation fun. First is that most of the people attending are from out of state. Second they can see the live bird and then go and see the same species bird in the exhibit.
Kelly does a really nice presentation. I personally think she does an excellent job making sure the kids understand what she is saying. She also gets them involved by asking them questions. She doesn't talk down to them, but she makes sure they get the message.
Kelly is one of many Bird TLC Volunteer Education Presenters. She is also the caretaker of this bird and has been doing so for about 5 years. Unlike many other rehabilitation clinics, our education birds stay at a caretakers home, not Bird TLC. That caretaker is responsible for their housing, feeding, and well being. After the initial expense of building a mew for the bird, they pay for the birds food themselves. In Kelly's case it's about $130 a month. Other birds are less expensive. Ruthie is caretaking a Northern Hawk Owl and it's food bill a month is about $65. They are also responsible for doing educational presentations with the bird about 12 times a year.
Sometimes there are medical bills also. Normal check ups and exams are provided for by our volunteer veterinarians, but some medicine, blood test and x-rays are not. So our caretakers are dedicated to the bird in more ways than one. A Great Gray Owl can live up to 40 years in captivity.
So, don't you think it's great that we have volunteers like Kelly? Volunteers that provide the home, food, care and time for the bird. Time to do education presentations to the public with a bird that came to Bird TLC with an injury or illness that didn't allow them to be released back to the wild. I think they are all great.