Raptor rehabilitation centers seem
to do a little of everything. First, they take care of and
feed injured birds. Depending on the size of the center,
hurt birds (and sometimes other animals, too) will be taken care
of at the center. If they are a small center, sometimes
the birds are taken to a veterinarian for care.
All of the centers that we visited had education
programs where people could visit and see birds that live there.
The centers that we visited had birds that were there because
their injuries made it impossible for them to go out in the wild
again. An example of this was a beautiful
Great Horned Owl that we saw at Hawk Mountain, a famous bird
sanctuary and conservation area. The owl had a broken wing
that didn't heal well enough for him to be released back into
the wild. He would not have been able to quietly fly to
get prey and would, in the end, starve or get eaten by another
predator. These centers (even if they don't actually fix
injured birds) have a network of birding organizations that they
can check for a permanent home for birds that can't ever be
released. These birds are used in school programs
that are held at the centers. Even though we felt very
sorry that these birds were not able to fly in the wild anymore,
we felt lucky to be able to see them up close. They are
Some centers do captive breeding where they breed birds
that are not out in the wild. Many times this is a matter
of life and death. An example is the
California Condor, a bird species that was almost extinct in
the United States. Raptor centers helped to capture the
birds that were left in the wild, brought them to places where
they could be taken care of, and then bred them in captivity.
Breeding in captivity is where birds mate while they are in
caged areas. The advantage of this is that the birds have been fed regularly and are healthy, as a result the
eggs are normal for hatching, and predators don't steal the eggs
before they hatch. The protected environment has saved
many species that were later released back into the wild.
The one thing all of these centers have in common is that they
need money to run their programs. Care, feeding,
educational programs, electricity, heat, and much more, all cost
money. Money comes into these centers through things that
they sell and donations. Our team participated in an
all-school owl adoption project that was fun AND provided money
for the care and feeding of a special owl.
Click here to see our project. We raised over $300.00
by collecting pennies and the change leftover after we bought
snacks following lunch. It was nice to make a difference!
You can, too.
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