Photo by Michelle McKee & Avian Reconditioning Center, courtesy the Audubon Center
Patient 53 making a speedy recovery.
The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey
in Maitland rehabilitated 784 raptors in 2020 and was able to release 54 percent of these birds back into the wild.
Since its founding in 1979, the Center has released thousands of raptors —birds of prey like hawks, owls, vultures, falcons or eagles — including over 600 bald eagles.
The Center was closed from March through September last year due to the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic posed to the Center's work, not to mention safely accommodating volunteers and visitors. Currently, with the pandemic in mind, staff has set up an outdoor tent for new feathered patients, allowing members of the community to safely drop off any injured birds in an open-air and socially distanced fashion.
"Birds come in with a wide variety of injuries, from falling out of nests or car collisions or even electrocution, " said Katie Warner, the Center's director, in a press statement. "Thanks to our talented staff and dedicated volunteers, we are able to release hundreds back into their natural habitat each year."
The first step towards releasing raptors back into the wild is the Center's Raptor Trauma Clinic. There, raptors are prescribed all medical care and food intake. They are then moved to one of 17 outdoor enclosures for rehab, including a 100-foot flight barn that builds bald eagles' wing strength.
When raptors are ready to be released, they are returned to the same spot in the wild where they were initially found.
You can visit the Center for $8 for guests three years and older. Entrance includes an hour and 25 minute visit. Keep in mind masks are required at all times, and the center is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Make sure to purchase your tickets online
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