Survival Instinct

Firstly, I have just come out the other side of those atrocious Twilight books – one week of my life I’ll never get back.  Sheesh, I forgot how utterly ridiculous that final book is.  “Renesmee”??  Please.

In other news, I am currently trying to fight against my survival instincts.

You may or may not know that my day job is that of a falconer-in-training.  I basically spend my days feeding carnivorous birds scraps of meat while they fly around, trying to make sure my fingers don’t get in the way – and more recently, failing at just that.

First, some background information.  Owls don’t have great eyesight for things close to them – why would they need it, in the wild their prey is noisy rodents who give away their position with sound.  But obviously, what we feed our owls is dead already.  So what we do is place a bit of food in our palms, stretch our hands flat and try our best to aim for their beaks.

As a result, I now have a series of large owl-bites covering my right palm and fingers.

Yeah, that hurt.

The stupid thing is that my survival instinct is actually what’s getting me injured just now.  I feel the urge to pull away too quickly from the large, gaping beak of the owl in question – which in turn makes her miss the bit of food and get my flesh instead.

The culprit - an owl named Lump. She might look all cute and junk, but that's a mighty large beak.

So how do you train yourself to stop listening to your own survival instincts?  Especially when they’re wrong and in fact preventing the survival of your badly battered fingers??

I have a plan.  It involves cheating.

During the winter I used these fingerless fleece gloves to combat the freezing temperatures, yet leaving my fingertips free to do all the knots and nonsense I need to do.  Now, the problem with these is that sometimes when feeding the owls they caught the fingerless glove as well as the food – and once something is in their beaks they don’t want to give it up.  So the second part of my plan involves somehow layering some thin leather over the palm of the glove.  We have a bunch of leather at work, which we use to make jesses, anklets and the like, so I have a supply of that.  So I can reinforce the palm of my glove so that it’s not something they can bite into.

And thus save my poor little fingers.

I know I get braver when there’s something covering my vulnerable flesh, so the idea is that by doing this for a while I’ll get the confidence to override my survival instinct.  Eventually I won’t need the glove, and I’ll be able to feed large bitey owls safely.

In the meantime, I am well stocked with plasters/bandaids and antiseptic wound spray.

2 responses to “Survival Instinct

  1. Ouch! Those look sore.

    Re: Connecting the leather to the glove – a more permanent way would be sewing, but sewing with leather is a pain, unless you have Very Sharp needles. I would go with glue personally.

    Renesme. I am so glad I am not a Mormon (if indeed stupid grandmother names are a Mormon thing) – my name would be GladysMargery. Awful!

    • I actually started sewing the leather onto my glove while I was at work. We have lots of leather sewing supplies, due to our leather gauntlets needing repairs, etc. Not as hard as I thought it would be!

      And yes. I agree. Sheesh.

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