Tag Archives: birds

The Raptor Center

The Raptor Center

Most of the organizations I write about are places I have never visited.  In December, I visited today’s organization along with my family.  The Raptor Center was an interesting place to visit and an organization that has been ensuring the health of raptors since 1974.

In the early 1970s, Dr. Gary Duke, a faculty member at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, was conducting some research on grain-eating turkeys.  Dr. Patrick Redig, a veterinary student was working with Duke when four baby great horned owls offered them an opportunity to expand their research to avian meat-eaters.  Redig offered to care for the resident owls as well as other birds that they did not need for their research.  He also began to repair their injuries and return them to the wild, pioneering avian orthopedic and anesthetic techniques that are still used by avian veterinarians today.

Omaha the Red Tailed Hawk

Some of the birds were unable to be released back to the wild, so he used these live birds to educate the general public about raptor behavior, habitat, and threats to their survival.  Since their founding in 1974, The Raptor Center has become an internationally renowned education facility.  The Raptor Center has also made a huge difference for raptors including the Midwest Peregrine Falcon Restoration Project which helped remove the Peregrine Falcon from the endangered species list, a book named Medical Management of Birds of Prey that details medical and surgical techniques for birds of prey, a manual named Raptors in Captivity: A Guide to Care and Management that has been adopted by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service as their standard on captive raptor management, among many other accomplishments listed on their website.

In 2012, The Raptor Center received nearly 800 patients including eagles, hawks, owls, and falcons.  These birds are all raptors because they have hooked beaks, sharp talons, and sharp talons.  When we visited in December 2012, they had 52 bird patients.  One long term winged ambassador resident is Leuc, a male bald eagle that has called The Raptor Center home since 1983.  He arrived with a broken right wing.  It healed but left him unable to fly.  In 1999, Leuc was also treated for a cancerous tumor on his right leg.  Luec has served as an education bird at the center since he was unable to be released back into the wild.

Luec from The Raptor Center

The Raptor Center reaches over 250,000 people annually though their unique public education programs and events.  Anyone can visit the center’s facility for a tour and meet a variety of raptors.  In addition, some of the raptors go on visits to local schools and other events.

How can you help?

The Raptor Center provided me with a many things we can all do to help birds and the environment.

  • Get involved in local conservation organizations such as The Raptor Center or your local nature center.  The Raptor Center has volunteer opportunities including transporting sick or injured birds and helping in the clinic.  You can learn more about volunteer opportunities here.
  • Learn about the various species of raptors here.
  • Lead alternative ammunition will help reduce lead poisoning in bald eagles and other birds.  Click here to learn more.
  • Eliminate unnecessary pesticide use.  According to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, approximately 50 pesticides currently used in the United States have caused bird die-offs.  Even the small amounts used by individuals on their lawns have a cumulative affect.
  • Modify your windows to help avoid collisions by adding screens, blinds, or bird feeders.  For examples and more information on this topic, please visit the Audubon Society website.
  • Properly dispose of toxic chemicals such as latex paint and items containing mercury.  Mercury is a potent nerve toxin, which is increasingly found in our water, fish, and loons.
  • Attend special events that The Raptor Center holds throughout the year, including its semi-annual Raptor Release, where rehabilitated raptors are released back into the wild.  You can watch their online calendar or sign up for their e-communications.
  • You can also make a monetary donation using a variety of options on their website or via their fundraising page on  In addition, there are opportunities to adopt a specific raptor.  You can learn more about raptor adoption here.

Owl from The Raptor Center

You can learn more about The Raptor Center on their website,  You can also connect with them on Facebook and their blog.


Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Nonprofit Organization


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World Bird Sanctuary

My daughter loves birds – well actually animals of all kinds.  So, when I came across the World Bird Sanctuary, I knew I needed to do their profile. 

The mission of the World Bird Sanctuary is to preserve the earth’s biological diversity and to secure the future of threatened bird species in their natural environments.  They use education, propagation, field studies, and rehabilitation to fulfill that mission.  They have over 300 acres and over 200 animals in their care in St. Louis, Missouri, making them one of North America’s largest facilities for the conservation of birds.   

In 1977, Walter Crawford Jr., the founder of the World Bird Sanctuary, started his work with birds of prey in his own backyard.  From there, he helped injured raptors and taught local neighborhood children about birds of prey.  If didn’t take long and Walter was faced with the dilemma of where to safely house and work with the several raptors he had taken in.  A lucky encounter with Dr. Richard Coles, the Director of Washington University’s Tyson Research Center in Eureka, Missouri  led to an agreement to use fifteen acres at the research center to continue the mission for helping native birds. 

Since then, The World Bird Sanctuary has been rehabilitating sick and injured birds of prey, and breeding endangered raptors for release, including peregrine falcons, barn owls, coopers hawks and Andean condors.

The World Bird Sanctuary has a variety of volunteer opportunities including working at the visitor center, assisting with field studies, clerical work, and even working directly with the birds.  There are also opportunities for junior volunteers to assist with daily chores in the education and animal management departments.  Visit their website to find more details about these volunteer opportunities.  There are also many group opportunities, including assisting with large events such as World Eagle Day, National Trails Day, and their Annual Open House event.  You can contact them at to learn more.

As with most organizations, the World Bird Sanctuary also accepts monetary donations via their website.  You can also find additional opportunities to help on their website, such as a wish list, by clicking the “Support WBS” button on top of their website

You can learn more about the World Bird Sanctuary at their website,  You can also follow them on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or their blog.

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Posted by on July 6, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization


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