Lisa M. Sheldon, Guest Columnist
While listening to the radio program, “Outdoors
Today,” I learned that we have a raptor recovery center in West
Virginia. The center’s Mike Book shared information about our favorite
raptors, bald and golden eagles, and also about our less liked raptors,
vultures. Raptors also include hawks, owls and falcons. I enjoyed the
program so much that I went on their website to learn more.
The West Virginia Raptor Recovery Center is located
in Morgantown and operated completely by volunteers. Their work is
centered on the care of injured, sick or orphaned birds of prey. The
goal is releasing the birds back into the wild after they are well. They
are focus on educating the public about these amazing creatures and
their importance to the environment.
“The Barn” is where the over 40 volunteers care for
the birds that need help. Outside, there are “flight cages,” where the
birds can practice their flying before being released. Because the
injuries vary, it could take days or weeks for a bird to be ready for
release; sometimes, they never are.
As part of the educational aspect of the center,
volunteers do programs around the state with the help of permanent
residences of “The Barn.” These special birds include Annie, a
red-tailed hawk; Bubo, a great horned owl; Orion, a broad-winged hawk;
Otus, an Eastern screech owl; and Thunder, a bald eagle. Programs can be
adapted for all ages and requested by calling 800-540-6390. This is also
the number to call if you find an injured or orphaned raptor.
Raptors are not just beautiful to watch, like the
hawk or the national bird, the bald eagle, they are part of the natural
cycle of life. Even the ugly turkey vulture has a vital part in nature.
He is one of nature’s garbage men.
We need to take the time to learn more about the
creatures, so we can know why they are here and how to treat them. As
the motto of the Raptor Recovery Center states, “Man is a part of
nature, not apart from nature.”