Deborah Canterbury, 2014
Congratulations to Logan Plunkett and Debbie Doyle on their 500 hour pins.
Logan Plunkett – 2017
Blackland Prairie Raptor Center – I enjoy working with the birds and it is very rewarding to see them released after rehab. Editor’s note: Logan also works at the Heritage Farmstead Garden and helps Dave in Wylie.
Debbie Doyle – 2017
I chose to volunteer at the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center because I’ve always liked predators. But now, I genuinely adore raptors, and am endlessly fascinated by all birds. Their beauty, grace and power are so inspiring.
My classmates might remember me as the broken legged lady that could barely do squat! (Literally!) I am still indebted to my friend and classmate Greg Tonian, who drove me to classes and meetings for months when I couldn’t drive. Despite my slow start, I now feel like an essential team member at the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center, particularly during the Covid lockdown when BPRC operated with only a skeleton crew of volunteers. Early on in my volunteering at BPRC, I have to admit I was a little intimidated by the largest owls and hawks. I enjoyed being their waitress and maid, but the idea of grabbing them out of a kennel or catching them as they fly around my head in a flight cage was unnerving. Being on the skeleton crew changed all that. We went from 4 or more volunteers per shift lasting 4-6 hours to just 2 volunteers per shift working till everything was done. So, get over yourself and grab that red-tailed hawk! Now I will catch great horned owls from the biggest flight cages and weigh each one to assess how successful they’ve been in their prey testing. I grab angry, injured birds out of their kennels and hold them for their exam or treatments. I love tweezer feeding adorable baby eastern screech owls while sweating it out in camouflage gear, so the little one doesn’t imprint on humans. It’s such fulfilling work, especially when we release our recovered patients back out into the wild. Now that Covid is in decline, we are training a ton of new volunteers so the work load will be diminished as the new trainees learn the ropes. I’m so glad I was able to help so much in 2020-21, advancing my bird handling skills, and getting over my nerves by repeatedly grabbing big hawks and owls. But I’m still not quite there with Bald Eagles. Yikes! They are BIG!