Monday, March 19, 2012

A Symbol of Healing

Recently, I had the privilege of participating in a unique way for a very special event.

My mom and step-dad recently reached a milestone of 25 years of marriage.  To commemorate this event, my sister and I, with the help of family and friends, planned a surprise renewing of vows ceremony.  Everything was beautifully prepared and arranged, and friends and family gathered together to celebrate.  My parents were overwhelmed with all of the love and support that was evident in the hard work that was put into the preparations.
I was unable to help with much of the legwork, but thanks to our Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital, I was able to bring a very special guest of honor to the event.   My special guest was a juvenile Red-Shouldered Hawk that had been a patient at our Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital, and through the efforts of staff, interns and volunteers, was ready to be released back into the wild, where it belonged.
The Hawk letting me know its opinion of the proceedings
At the end of the vow renewal ceremony, I gathered my parents, friends and family, to reveal our feathered friend who had been waiting for the big moment.  My parents were very excited and completely shocked when I revealed what was in the crate.  There was a buzz in the crowd as I carefully brought the young hawk out and told them a bit about WBS, our Wildlife Hospital, and how our special guest had come to be there. 

The hawk seemed less than pleased about being handled once again, and was pretty vocal about it.  We had met on similar terms that morning, as I was the one that caught him up from the mew where he had spent his rehabilitation period, and put him in a travel crate to bring him to the event.  Little did he know that his big moment had arrived.
My mom and stepdad being coached on how to release this young bird
I carefully coached my mom and dad, on how to send this young hawk back on its journey to being wild and free.  In a beautifully wooded area in Beaufort, Missouri, my parents released the hawk that we named “J.D.” (both of my parents first initials).  It was over so quickly.  Young J.D. flew high and free, never looking back.  It was absolutely breathtaking--a moment that none of us will ever forget.  Young J.D. became a symbol of healing, in honor of a marriage that has survived ups and downs, innumerable trials and brokenness, a marriage that has been healed by grace.

Did you know that you could sponsor a “Return To The Wild”, like we did with J.D.?  It can, but doesn’t have to be for a big celebration. 

Your sponsorship of a “Return To The Wild” helps our Wildlife Hospital care for our many patients.  For only $150.00, you and WBS can release one of our rehabilitated birds of prey at your location of choice within a 50 mile radius of the World Bird Sanctuary.

To sponsor a “Return To The Wild” release Click Here (Link: or call 636-861-1392 or email

Submitted by Billie Baumann, World Bird Sanctuary Outreach Coordinator


Monteen said...

Very cool.

G. Staehle said...

Awesome, Billie! What a great way to Celebrate the occasion! Having just done a Release too, it was REALLY great you shared this with them! Makes it even more special! :-)