Toys & Training

His future chickening out: A summer season fellowship story

His future chickening out: A summer season fellowship story

Via his World of Work Fellowship, Ori Cohen ’24 spent the summer season coaching birds on the Southwick Zoo.

Picture/Mike Lovett

Ori Cohen ’24 posed with Sydney, a photogenic macaw.

By Kennedy RyanAug. 4, 2022

Ori Cohen ’24 has at all times had a ardour for learning animal conduct. He spent his highschool years volunteering at native animal shelters, retraining the canine to turn out to be snug socializing with new folks. It was right here that Cohen found his capacity to make a distinction within the lives of those animals.

It wasn’t till coming to Brandeis that he realized this ardour may turn out to be a profession.

Via his World of Work(WOW) Fellowship, the biology main with a minor in psychology found their research might be mixed and utilized to actual world expertise serving to animals.

Cohen took the time to speak about programs at Brandeis, their favourite animals to work with and their objectives for the longer term.

What made you select the Southwick Zoo on your internship?

I’ve been eager about animal conduct for awhile, however wasn’t certain what path I needed to observe in biology. I thought of exploring careers in animal conservation, making use of to medical faculty, and discovering different animal conduct associated alternatives. After discovering the Southwick Zoo’s Earth Restricted program, a nonprofit conservation and schooling program, I knew it was the right match.

How did the Hiatt Profession Middle’s World of Work Fellowship assist make this attainable?

The applying course of was comparatively easy. After discovering Hiatt’s World of Work internship program, I accomplished the appliance questions on-line. That was probably the most time consuming half, as I needed to ensure I used to be capturing all the pieces. After doing that, I emailed the hiring supervisor on the Southwick Zoo and requested if she may write an worker letter of supply for me to ship to Hiatt.

She was very variety and despatched again the letter the very subsequent day, wishing me luck. General the method was surprisingly fast and simple, which made it very accessible. I am so grateful for it!

Ori Cohen training ErniePicture/Mike Lovett

Cohen coaching Ernie, one of many male eclectus parrots featured within the Aviation present.

What’s a mean ‘day within the life’ in your internship?

I’m working within the chook division, caring for the parrots, macaws, eagle owls, and different small reveals of bigger species.

I work three days per week, primarily ensuring the birds are thriving of their atmosphere. This requires day by day cleansing, refilling waters, and making ready meals for every animal’s food plan. We’re caring for a variety of animals, so we are able to’t skimp on their care. It’s vital and fulfilling work.

We additionally do day by day enrichment with the birds. Birds require stimulation, so we encourage foraging and different actions to maintain them all through the day. We incorporate play in inventive methods via do-it-yourself props, making them seek for issues.

It’s fascinating caring for the completely different species of birds. Our owls, for instance, are usually extra aggressive to new folks. I haven’t had a problem with them and really have a enjoyable time caring for them!

I additionally take part in two reveals, working with macaws and parrots throughout the aviation present for zoo guests. We educate guests how we prepare our birds, exhibit their distinctive methods and reveal actions that exhibit their pure behaviors within the wild.

Pongo feeding resizedPicture/Mike Lovett

Cohen and his mentor, Danielle Poirier, Head Hen Coach on the Zoo, feeding Pongo.

What has it been like working with these birds?

For all birds, it’s important to construct a relationship with them. Some birds are pickier than others. Ben the macaw likes to say whats up to new guests, whereas some birds determine they do not like folks from the beginning. I don’t maintain it in opposition to them!

I feel two of my favourite birds (it’s too laborious to choose!) are Ernie and Pongo. I’ve gotten to work with Ernie, our male eclectus parrot, coaching him after every efficiency. He can say ‘whats up,’ ‘peekaboo’ and may even make fireplace truck noises. Pongo the Crimson Legged Seriema, nonetheless, is the chook I relate most to due to his fun-loving character. Everybody jokes that if I used to be a chook, I’d be Pongo.

In three phrases solely – how would you describe your internship expertise?

Thrilling, instructional, and enjoyable.

This system is thrilling as a result of whereas there’s a routine, on a regular basis is a brand new expertise.

It’s instructional as a result of I’ve discovered a lot from this internship. Going into this system I knew the anatomy of the birds and behavioral ideas due to my experiences in introduction to psychology, character psychology, and all of the core biology programs at Brandeis. I used to be capable of educate different college students within the zoo’s internship program how the elements of the chook make a distinction of their skills. For instance, people have larynxes whereas birds have syrinxes. This organ permits parrots and comparable species to mimic human speech.

The mix of my coursework and experiences on the zoo have given me the power to create applications for the birds, specializing in behavioral retraining. I’ve discovered a lot, however I additionally really feel empowered that I’ve accomplished some instructing as nicely.

This system can also be enjoyable. It’s a easy option to describe it, however I’m going to work on a regular basis and get to get pleasure from myself working with the birds. Even via demanding moments I’ve a way that I’m doing one thing good, serving to these birds and making a distinction.

What will probably be your greatest take away from this expertise?

This expertise helped me uncover my future path. From studying concerning the animals to seeing the day by day capabilities of working at a zoo, I feel I’m now inclined to go down the trail of zoo-keeping and animal welfare. I even have a greater sense of what programs I’ll concentrate on for the remainder of my Brandeis expertise. Being a rising junior, I had this urgent stress of ‘what’s going to I do for the remainder of my life?’ After coming into this expertise on the zoo and instantly loving it, I really feel like that weight has been lifted.

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