Background: Susquehanna Bank contributes funds to Millersville University in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to support students who choose community service-based internships at nonprofits or government agencies. The donation allows the university’s Office of Experiential Learning and Career Management to offer an award to selected students who are completing an academic internship during a summer semester.
This summer, Millersville student Meta Griffin completed an internship with the Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research in Newark, Del. The organization works to return injured, diseased, orphaned, and oiled native birds back to the wild. The following is a journal of her experience:
Entry 1: After only a few weeks at Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research, I have already had countless wonderful and rewarding experiences. I have learned so much about the proper care and treatment of wild birds and am thankful for all the support of the staff and volunteers.
Over the summer, Tri-State is inundated with orphaned or injured baby songbirds that need round-the-clock care before they are ready to be released back into the wild. It is very exciting to be able to witness young songbirds grow and develop with expert care and then be able to be released back into the wild.
It is a great experience to help care for these young birds as well as the adult birds that often are admitted to the clinic with injuries. I was just recently able to participate in the release of a Downy Woodpecker that had recovered from its impact injuries after striking a window. I am looking forward to continuing my internship and learning as much as I can!
Entry 2: I have now had hands on experience with some of Tri-State’s most impressive patients – the raptors!
Learning how to restrain and hold large birds of prey so that they can have medical treatment has been a very exciting experience. I have now held/restrained Osprey, Red Tailed-Hawks, Great Horned Owls, Screech Owls, and even a Turkey Vulture. These large birds of prey deserve respect and proper handling to limit their stress while they are at the clinic so that they can recover as quickly as possible and hopefully one day return to the wild.
It is very awe inspiring to be face-to-face with such birds and be able to help them on their road to recovery. I have also now been trained to run the “Meds List.” This includes checking on patients that need extra or special care, administering the correct medication and treatment, and giving subcutaneous fluids to dehydrated birds.
After receiving safety training, I was ready to help assist with the decontamination process. The oil spill response staff at Tri-State is renowned for their expert care of oiled wildlife. I learned about the entire process of decontaminating the birds which is a very precise and lengthy procedure.
The birds had to be pre-treated with canola oil which helps break-down the petroleum based oil they were covered in. The birds were then washed in three decreasing concentrations of Dawn dish soap followed by a final rinse with clean water. After a week recovering at the clinic, all three geese were cleared for release and were back in the wild.
All of my experiences at Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research have assured me that I have chosen the correct career path. I am very excited to one day be working in a field dealing with wildlife conservation and management. I am also very thankful for the honor of receiving the Susquehanna Bank Award as it has greatly helped me pursue my career interests.
Meta Griffin, of Avondale, Pa., is an enviornmental biology major at Millersville.