I'm just going to string together some photos of Thanksgiving Day at the rehab center, to give an idea of what we've been doing.
This little Ruddy Duck sure looks cute, sitting on his fish basket, but to a trained rehabilitator, this is a distressing sight. The fact that it has "hauled out" of the water means that it is probably cold from not being fully waterproof. Sitting in its food will only make this situation worse, since the oils from the fish will further compromise the waterproofing of its feathers. This fellow was removed from the pool and allowed to dry out in a heated hospital pen.
A Snowy Egret has been hanging around every day, hoping to score an easy meal. He's a fish thief. We keep the fish covered up, but he's very clever and persistent, and quite a moocher.
As the emphasis of the care in the hospital shifts from stabilization and washing to preparing the birds for release, the staff members are switching jobs. Megan had been my supervisor when I was working outside at the pools, but now she is tracking the medical care of the birds.
The feeding schedule is also tracked. The white board above shows feeding schedules and instructions on how to feed the different species of birds. For example, the small Horned and Eared Grebes are fed cut up fish, while the other fish eaters get whole fish. If we are feeding the birds in pens, we may try to move any fish that a bird may sit on.
However, this technique does not apply to the Loons.
Intake and washing have slowed considerably. Here, a Western Grebe is being washed. It looks like he is getting some paternal advice from Jay. Of course, that's just me anthropomorphizing again. I know perfectly well that these are wild animals. It is our responsibility to traumatize them as little as possible, and not encourage them to become accustomed to human contact. We want them to be as wild as possible when they leave our care.