Intern’s Perspective – Frankie

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I came into this internship with no rehab experience, only a desire to learn as much as possible in the short three months I had here. Now that I’m nearing the end of my internship I can say with 100% certainty that I have learned an incredible amount about birds, rehab, and the dedication it takes to get these incredible animals back out into the wild.

When I first started I knew I loved animals, but did not have much experience with birds. Watching Kayla handle and care the wide variety of bird species in the Keys, I thought there was no way I could keep up. Now I have done everything from wrangling pelicans and raptors, to feeding and caring for delicate baby birds.

Nothing can replace the feeling of releasing a bird back into the wild where they belong. I remember bringing in a pelican who was found in a waste water treatment tank, who was so weak and cold he could barely lift his head. After warming him up, giving him plenty of fluids, and slowly allowing him to recover and gain weight, we released him at our sanctuary beach. It was incredible to watch this bird, who was barely alive when we got him, fly away over the bay. This was not the only opportunity I had to witness the incredible resilience of birds.

Although we cannot save them all, I learned how to give every injured or sick bird the best chance at recovery and release. It requires hard work, cooperation, and willingness to try anything to save these incredible birds. This extremely hands-on internship has deepened my knowledge and desire to work in wild bird rehabilitation. This has been an irreplaceable experience, and I can never thank FKWBC enough for giving me this opportunity to learn about these amazing creatures.

Frankie Vierela, FKWBC Intern, 2015

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