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  • Letitia Labbie

If these gloves could talk!

When you have been doing wildlife rehabilitation as long as I have, some of the things you do just become second nature. When people ask me why I do things certain ways, I sometimes have to think about it. For example: I make it a practice to only use Orang/Red gloves for examinactions, medications, medical weigh-ins... Why? Well, birds are very observant! especially Owls! No details escape them, they remember it the rest of their lives. They notice clothes, gender, type of person, tone of voice, shoes, beards, eye color, hairstyles, age, etc. If an animal has been upset by something, it will show its discomfort or anxiety with everything related to it. They learn very quickly that the Orange/red gloves equals a short bad time. When I’m manning a bird for Education/Falconry purposes I use a Black/Brown gauntlet. They quickly associate that with food. Even the simplest things can set off a birds flight or fright response. One time I walked into an Education Barred owls cage to feed her and she flew at my face and started attacking me. I was floored. I had worked with this bird everyday for over 3 years. I racked my brain about what I did differently that day. Then I realized I was wearing glasses. I always wear contacts but in this day I had put my glasses on instead. Routine is very important when running a wildlife center. Having different people coming in and out of birds lives is very stressful. Wild animals have two worries finding food and not becoming food. When they are injured they need to conserve their energy for recovery. This I one reason I only handle them for brief sessions and they are not allowed to be observed by the public. (The gloves that I have in the picture are over 30 years old. They have seen a lot. And have handled thousands of birds over the years. I do own other gloves, but these are my favorite!)


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502 Mermentau Rd. Youngsville, Louisiana 70592

337-288-5146.

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