Wildlife Rehabilitation Intern, Melissa Rodriguez feeding a fledgling Common GrackleOur Wildlife Rehabilitation Interns are about halfway through their summer internship! Over the past couple of weeks they have been learning from Alison Meredith, (our Intern Supervisor), Melissa Pineda-Perez (our Education Program Coordinator), Lara Kazo (our Wildlife Specialist), and our Director, Catherine Sevcenko. At the beginning of the internship, our interns were required to get a Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) Category IV Wildlife Rehabilitator permit, which allows them to handle wild birds under the supervision of a licensed rehabber the state of Virginia. At this point, all of our interns know how to clean cages, identify common bird species, take birds’ weights, do general physical exams, feed nestlings and young fledglings, and prepare food bowls for the rehab and education ambassador birds. Maddie Lichter, a Wildlife Rehabilitation Intern, said she really likes “how rehabbing birds involves both animal care, and science.” Lichter mentioned that “there is a lot to consider when rehabbing a bird, whether it will do better in the wild or in care” and how to care for a bird’s stress of being outside its home. Ben Selby, a Wildlife Rehabilitation Intern, had a similar response to Lichter’s, he said he is learning a lot by handling the birds, measuring their food, and tending to their injuries as well. For many of our interns, this is their first experience with wildlife outside of the biology classroom. This experience has “opened new doors and experiences” for Christian Surak, a Wildlife Rehabilitation Intern, and he says his favorite part about doing rehab work is releasing the birds and “seeing the bird fly off after caring for it.” Another Wildlife Rehabilitation Intern, Alyssa Leite, says that “it feels rewarding to be able to care for the birds and watch them grow.” However, some aspects of rehabilitation “can be hard work sometimes, but it’s also worth it” said Wildlife Rehabilitation Intern Melissa Rodriguez. Rodriguez said she has been having a great experience at Diva Crows so far, and she’s already learned a lot about rehabbing birds. One of the greatest benefits of rehab work is education; not only are rehabbers involved in working with birds, but so is the general public. By bringing in injured or orphaned birds for help, the public can have a positive impact on the environment around them, said Litcher. By the end of the summer, we hope the interns will also feel confident in doing more detailed physical exams (including being able to tell a bird’s body condition, how skinny/overweight a bird is), wrap wings, tube-feed birds and know how to give common medications, including injections, that have been prescribed by a vet. Some of our interns like Surak, Leite and Lichter will be finishing up their undergraduate degrees in the next year, while Rodriguez and Selby will be continuing to work with wildlife and start their post-undergraduate careers. The biggest take away Selby wants the public to know is “if you do have a question [or concern about wildlife] ask an authority” such as a wildlife rehabilitation center like ours.