Birder's Eye View

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Greetings from PA!

It's been a while, but I'm still here! I have just finished the 3rd week of my summer internship and finally have some time to myself to take a break and update everyone. The long and the short of it is, I'm living in the Pennsylvania woods and working at an environmental education center to teach summer camps, work the visitor's center, take care of raptors, and generally do awesome things outdoors.

Yours truly, rappelling
This is easily the most difficult job I have ever had, but it's also the most rewarding, fun, and eye-opening job I could ever hope for! In the 3 weeks I've been here, I've done bird of prey shows, gone rock climbing and rappelling, taught a week of summer camp, hiked through the valley, gone brook trout fishing, and gotten to know some of the coolest people I have ever met. On top of that, my birding skills are quickly improving, thanks to the boundless knowledge of above mentioned cool people. :-)

I think the greatest part about this internship is that everyone is so passionate about what they do, and so interested in the world around them. I can already identify about a dozen more songbirds by ear than I could 3 weeks ago.

Many of the birds here are similar to what I see back home, with the exception of a few lifers and many year birds. Scarlet tanagers are pretty common out here, as well as red-eyed vireos, cedar waxwings, indigo buntings, and American goldfinches in their brilliant summer plumage.

Flying squirrel visits my birdfeeder
I've been endlessly entertained by the plethora of other wildlife here as well; it's so refreshing to see deer almost every day, in addition to groundhogs, chipmunks, red squirrels, flying squirrels, black rat snakes, milk snakes, salamanders, newts, and little brown bats.
Deer (about a half second before it bolted!)

The trail I walk to work
The creek
Red spotted newt (?)
Some parts of work aren't so glamorous; cleaning bird cages and defrosting dead chicks and mice takes a strong stomach, and working with little kids all day is exhausting. But at the same time, every day of work is totally different and exciting. I don't think I have ever smiled and laughed so much in a 3 week period as I have this month!
Turkey chick we found!
Scarlet Tanager

Barn swallow nesting under a bridge

So, that's where I'm at right now. I don't have internet where I'm living (I'm currently sitting in a Wegman's grocery store, using the free wifi at their cafe since I was in town anyway to do laundry!). It has been such an interesting experience adjusting to both the new lifestyle of essentially "camping" in a little house in the woods, and working an intensive job.

Next week I'm teaching camp again, and after that I have a week of working in the raptor center!

I'll try to post updates in a few weeks. Until next time,

Happy birding!


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