Well a doctor in town has a new story to tell today thanks to me. Last weekend I was volunteering at the nature center as a handler for a photo-shoot. It’s a fundraiser for our animal rehab work. We tether a bunch of the birds to perches and photographers pay big bucks to come take their pictures. Each bird has its own personal bodyguard/servant the entire time. This day I was in charge of Igor, the turkey vulture. He likes to pick apart his jesses (tethers) and so every so often I’d have to step in and put my (gloved) hand between his beak and his feet to make him stop.
When I was trying to remove his jesses, back in his enclosure at the end of the day, I didn’t bother with gloves, since there were no visitors to see. Four years of working with this bird and never even a red mark on my skin. But this time he nipped.
Their beaks aren’t very strong, but he managed to pinch a flap of skin on the back of my hand and wouldn’t let go. Then he twisted, and managed to tear off a small bit of skin—about the size of a small sunflower seed. No big deal right? I’ve been bitten by far bigger beaks and teeth in my years of working with animals.
But of course this one decided to resist the peroxide, alcohol, tea tree oil, and Neosporin that make up my home arsenal against infection. So today I had to go into the walk-in clinic to get antibiotics for an infected vulture bite. She was most amused. Gave me the prescription. Said it will also clear up the sinus infection I hadn’t even told her about. Gave me a tetanus shot too, just for fun.
So as I was leaving, what did she say? “Oh I’ve gotta write this down…won’t ever have this one again…vulture bite…”
Happy Halloween, huh?