I had a day off today and then I'll be going into a six day stretch. I had plans to check out some trails around the area but that didn't quite pan out. Instead I slept in till 9:30am and then was invited to go to the Farmer's Market with the head Rehabber to do some personal shopping while he picked up the fruit donation for the center. There were plans to release five merlins later that afternoon.
I waited around a couple hours for the release to happen, helping unload the fruit from the truck and emptying trash. Apparently I can't help myself from doing stuff that needs to be done, even on my day off. Also, a bald eagle came in and I got to tube feed it. I finally had a successful tube feeding attempt, granted it was one of the easiest birds to tube. I also got to take pictures as the merlins were being caught, which was fun. It was a little nerve wracking at times too.
The process of catching a healthy merlin consists of several people wearing heavy leather gloves stretching their arms high over their head, causing the birds to fly around wildly. Eventually the bird will become exhausted and hopefully land in a spot you can sneak up on it. Or as I saw with our experienced rehabber, you can catch them in mid flight. Several times I was afraid I was going to get taloned in the head as they swooped down low in attempt to escape their would-be captors.
We released the birds not far from the center, by a lake. Releases take such a short time, but it is rewarding in its own right. To know that all the time and effort you put into such an animal was worth while and it will survive in its intended habitat.
After the release was over, it started to rain. It has been in the upper 70's to high 80's ever since I got here and the rain has just made everything a humid, sticky, mess. I idea of a nice hike were kind of dashed. I opted to do laundry instead. If the forcast holds, it looks like my next day off will be sunny...six days from now. I'll keep my fingers crossed.