Don't get me started

OK, don't get me started because someone else already did. Mike at 10000 Birds is hosting "I and the Bird #27". Of course he started it, but on the anniversary of the first IATB he wants to do a theme on why we do what we do about birds and how we got started. So I thought about it and looked through my old post and realized I haven't posted anything like that, only bits and pieces. So here it goes, with a little twist.

Why do I volunteer at Bird TLC (Instead of "Why do I bird?")

Five years ago my wife Ruth was going through a career change. Being stressed out and craby in the corporate world was no longer her cup of tea. So she started volunteering at Bird TLC's clinic a couple times a week. Four years ago in March we had a snow storm. I mean we had 36 inches of snow in a 24 hour time period. We got some snow! For my old Dodge, it was no issue, she's a tank. It goes through anything. I call her "Flo". So, I went to work as normal. It was another story for the Mercury Ruthie had at the time. She couldn't get out of the driveway. So I got the call "Can you give me a ride to the clinic? There's one volunteer there and she's swamped". Well, you know I said "OK".

When I got there she gave me the full tour of the place. Then it was time for her to get to work, but they needed help. So while they examined an eagle, I got to help restrain it. I GOT HOOKED. I also figured it was a good way to spend quality time with Ruth. I started by shoveling the porch. I got someone to volunteer doing the snow plowing. I started begging stores for supplies like garbage bags, sandwich bags, exam gloves, etc. I would go into businesses and they would say "Hey, it's the bird guy".

I took on the job as webmaster when no one else would or knew how. My first stop after that was Barnes and Nobles book store to buy a copy of "Webmastering for Dummies". My son Ryan helped bail me out also.

Then they were going to cancel the auction they had planned because the auction chair was getting stressed out. So I said "I'll do it". We rescheduled to a better date and with the help of an excellent committee and a great community, we raised $25K.

During this time, Ruth started presenting a rough-legged hawk for the Bird TLC Education Program. I'd go with her and help carry things in for her and stuff like that. Then I sort of became part of the presentation by promoting our organization and asking for donations. I'm a salesman by trade and it sort of fits in pretty good. Now I get loaned out to other girls for their presentations. Ruthie now presents three birds and caretakes for two.

We also go on injured bird hunts. People call in a injured bird and Ruthie and I or just myself go after it. Most recently we recovered a great horned owl near Portage. We go to the airport often to pick up injured birds that have been flown in from around the state. Cindy Palmatier became the Rehabilitation Director and is doing a heck of a job. I use to get queasy when the blood and guts stuff came about (that's from the long time in the military). But here came a day when it was just her and I and she needed help with an eagle. After that I started taking pictures during operations and stuff. Cindy knows she can call us for anything and has.

My daughter Cassie took in a couple baby American Robins last year. She was a baby bird mom. We have many baby birds that come through TLC every year. We all are signed up to be potential baby bird moms if things work out.

We had found an organization that we both like and really like its mission. Ruthie does presentations all over the state and I go and help out on some. I help with any fundraiser that comes along. We had a successful 2006 Mew Yard Spring Clean-Up. Our board president said it was the most successful event so far this year. I'll also help other presenters with whatever they need. The office knows it can call on us anytime for almost anything.

Now I'm chairing another auction committee. The auction will be on Oct. 21 and we are going to try something new. An online auction will coincide with the live and silent auction. I already have a good committee going. All are diehard TLC volunteers.

So that's how I got started. I blame it all on Ruthie. But it's not a bad thing. I enjoy it or I wouldn't be doing it.

Why do I blog for Bird TLC (Instead of "Why do I blog about birding")

I've meet a lot of people and blogged with people from around the world. Bird TLC has a lot of great volunteers and a great staff. The organization does a lot of great work and we help a lot of birds. See the picture at the left? That's why I do it and people need to know that Bird TLC is doing it also.