Overseas Volunteer Experience Stories

Lindsey Stern

Lindsey Stern
Lindsey Stern carrying out the flight test on the adult hawk

I knew I was in for something great when I came to volunteer at Alturas, but I didn’t expect it to be life-changing. Every day, I find myself amazed by the heroic work that is done here and I am grateful that I get to be a part of it. Recently, I was invited to witness, and partake in; the flight test of a hawk that had come into the clinic with a shoulder injury. After passing the flight test, it was agreed that the bird was ready for release. I was excited to watch him fly free, but I never expected to be asked: “do you want to do it?” As a bird lover, the opportunity to be the one to give the beautiful raptor its freedom was a dream come true. I was shown how to hold him properly and instructed to give a light toss upwards. The hawk eagerly left my hand and soared to a nearby tree where he perched and bobbed his tail. It is difficult and heartbreaking at times to work with animals that have been so deeply affected, and hurt, by humans. However, it is experiences like the release of the hawk that makes the difficulty worth it.

Volunteer Duration: Three month intern