Monday, September 5, 2011
Josh Kuszmaul is World Bird Sanctuary's first Homing Pigeon intern.
Josh Kuszmaul, World Bird Sanctuary's first pigeon intern, holds two of his charges
Josh is from Eastern Ohio and attends Ohio State University during the college year. His major is Animal Science with a minor in Environmental Science.
Josh has had prior experience raising Pheasants, Turkey, Guinea Fowl and Quail, so our flock of Homing Pigeons seemed to be a natural for him. His focus so far has been to get the young birds flying almost daily. He has separated the Loft into 3 main areas--the breeders in Coop 3, the experienced team into Coop 2 and the rookies into Coop 1.
Josh also has begun to try to improve our breeding program by pairing birds with the best flying records to improve the flock’s “Homing” genes. He has also paired up some of the vibrantly colored hens with the more colorful males. In addition, he has really focused on trying to breed for more birds with white feathers.
Josh is quite gregarious and will often be the instigator of fun and laughter among volunteers, interns and staff. He has also exhibited somewhat of a Tom Sawyer characteristic in that he has involved all of the other interns in catching up the birds to take out to release, medicating a pigeon which was strafed by a hawk and hand raising a baby pigeon that I have affectionately begun to call "Shortbread".
Josh told me that they had some real excitement the other day. A squirrel crawled into the loft and was in there when he went into the coop. It’s a toss-up as to who was more startled—the human or the squirrel. I could attest to that by the table that was knocked over, the oyster shell spilled on the floor and the brooms and duster strewn around, with which Josh was trying to coax the squirrel out of the loft. Josh said that at one point he thought the squirrel was going to run up his leg.
When asked what originally sparked his interest in the Homing Pigeon project, Josh said, “I think it is fascinating in the big races that the Homing Pigeons travel 500 miles & come back."
Josh is fun to be around and I will continue to urge him to keep learning while improving our Pigeon Loft operation. I am glad he decided to take on the Homing Pigeons as his Intern Project.
Submitted by Michael Zeloski, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist