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Feathered friend is good reason for office disarray

My office is a mess. It’s not actually my fault.

I know what you are thinking! How could I tell? I know if you have been on a tour, there is a pile, or piles, of stuff on my desk and beside my desk waiting to be done.

Now is worse than usual. It all started when Lindsay decided that my credenza needed to be cleaned. She organized and straightened and put stuff in boxes for me to go through. My office looked so very much better! But then I couldn’t find anything. One of those boxes has my DEA number that we need to order stuff from a new company. Another box has the replacement for my cell phone cover that peeled off, unfortunately, I don’t know which one. Actually, that is the real problem, EVERYTHING has moved.

While Lindsay did a great and productive job and offered to do the same for my desk, I declined for now. This is end of year, end of quarter, end of month tax time. W-2s, 941s, 940s and numerous state forms are being entered and reconciled on my desk.

This is also the time for roles and goals, useful accounting projects and wildlife rehab annual reports. Add various personnel matters that required both visitors to my office that had to get access to the security system and significant documentation/writing projects with a short deadline.

At the same time, we have had a record January, I have purchased furniture for a house and I have taken more time off to trap a hawk for falconry. In short, I have crammed a lot of stuff into the time I had. My desk shows this. But emergencies and urgencies are a part of my normal life. What isn’t normal is the visitors to my office.

Lindsay’s rearranging was beneficial. Ember is doing quite well after her fire adventure. She can now jump and climb to the highest places in my office.

Unfortunately, she is a tad clumsy. Things that were tucked away and safe, now reappear on my floor or mixed into the contents of my desk.

Likewise, Josh had to get to the mouse to see things on the security system. Then Shane showed up in his full uniform to see and investigate. Both of these men tried hard not to disturb anything, but big men in an office designed for only me meant a few more things were displaced. And displaced things were picked up to be able to walk.

The biggest displacer arrived last weekend. She doesn’t have a name yet. She is barely over four ounces, but she is a pro at rearranging my office. This little half pint can fly 39 mph.

Her six- to eight-inch wings can knock an inch of paperwork off my desk at one time. She is an American Kestrel, smallest of the falcon family. She is now my best bud. In a week, she has learned to hop up on the glove for tidbits of raw mouse. Kestrels are like sled dogs, they will do nothing for you if they don’t like you. In order for her to like me, I have to be her constant companion and source of everything good.

It has not been easy. She got her lightweight anklets and jesses off four times. I spent two hours making leather jesses that took her 20 minutes to remove.

My falconry partner, Mike, finally brought his leather working tools and she has anklets that have grommets that will take longer to remove. In other birds, I would say they were permanent, but she works at them any time we are not training.

She has gotten loose and taken numerous tours of treatment. The catch-the-little-snot drill consists of turning the lights out and then catching her at one of the windows. Let’s just say, we have practiced enough to be good now.

Of course, she comes with her own gear. I have a polished wood and marble block perch stand that looks like a miniature table that now sits on the side of my desk.

However, she prefers to perch on the stereo beside the security monitor. When she leaves the perch, it is called baiting. It also causes a windstorm. More papers fly. When they get picked up, they are never in the same order that they went down in. Often it is hard to know which pile they came from.

Half a mouse is a day’s rations. That is cut up into 40 or 50 tiny tidbits. Sometimes her baiting means the little card they sit on goes flying. I try to clean up, but a few of those now dehydrated tidbits might still be in my office.

A lightweight leather glove protects my hand and provides her secure footing. Her leash is attached to her perch and it also knocks things over when she baits. Of course, it is not just the food and papers. There is a ring of tiny poops over the side of the flat perch. These are called mutes. (Mute is both a verb and a noun in falconry.

The act is to mute and the stuff that comes out the cloaca is a mute.) Luckily slicing (or propelling the matter out of the cloaca) is what hawks do because slices can be several feet out onto walls.

I have thought of many names and have decided that she must be named today. I wanted a Native American name. Oneida means long awaited and applies, but it is now a corporation name. Chok Tah seemed good when she was nipping and ripping my fingers hourly.

I looked into Star Trek for names: Major Kira; Counselor Troi. I looked at Toothless, Fury and other dragons, but none seemed to fit. No!Mad or Nomad seemed like it would fit, but I didn’t want her to take off. Meanwhile, Mike pushed for Gertrude. 

Mighty Mouse and Half Pint seemed to fit, but so did several Coast Guard words. Hey! #%$@It was often heard from my office the first few days. Then Java seemed great. I love coffee and I could yell it in the woods while hunting. But maybe not enough spunk for her. Something else? Absolutely not Gertrude!

Meanwhile, my office is in disarray. I will spend most of my weekend finding, sorting and working. Still some paperwork might have a touch of mute or smear of mouse bit, but as Brandon pointed out this little falcon makes me smile. She is a good reason to have my office in disarray.

MJ Wixsom, DVM MS is a best-selling Amazon author who practices at Guardian Animal Medical Center in Flatwoods, Ky. GuardianAnimal.com 606-928-6566