Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chick Release Part 2: The Release

We started at 3 in the afternoon. It stays dark until 6:30. This gives us 3.5 hours to catch up 8 birds, drive them to their locations, and put them out.

We were delayed a little by the first group of birds (Gouda, Roq, Ric, and Saga). Note: we're still struggling a little to identify the birds with their new bands. We figured it out, though, and separated the right birds from the flock.

They (naturally) struggled against being crated. Saga and Ricotta had been caught up within the past month due to unexpected medical emergencies, so they were the most wary. Eventually, though, everyone was safely crated, and carefully stowed in the van to be relocated.

I'm a little sad that I'll never be so close to them again

To the North! it takes about 20 minutes to drive up there one way. We carefully set the 4 crates side-by-side along the road way. Everyone gets back in the van except 1 person. The 1 person (Richard, my boss) very swiftly lifts all 4 doors of the crates, runs quickly, jumps in the van, and the van drives away!!!

Then, ideally, the birds leisurely stretch their wings and step out of the crate, look at eachother and fly off to their destiny.

Realistically, though, the birds stepped out of the crate, looked at each other, and didn't really know what to do. They stood there in the road. Since these birds have NEVER seen a car before, or really a road, or anything like a human, it's now time to stress the birds out so they have a fear of these things. We don't want them approaching roads, cars, or humans later in life.

Other programs may have humans suddenly appear after release running at the chicks, screaming, opening and closing umbrellas, shooting guns, and generally making a loud ruckus to scare the chicks away. Well we do the same thing, except with the vehicle; honking, flashing lights, driving towards them.

Yay! they flew! Eva (my tracking field manager, and new supervisor once the tracking internship starts) was waiting to stay on these chicks in the north. We, in the van, collected the boxes and booked it back to Site 3 to collect the second group of chicks for release.

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