Friday, April 12, 2013

Return to the Wild

This month I wanted to take the time to tell everyone about a wonderful experience that the World Bird Sanctuary’s Wildlife Hospital provides to the public.

Sick and injured birds of prey that enter our wildlife hospital oftentimes need an area to be released into the wild, so we have designed a program to make this a unique experience for the general public to enjoy.  The program is called “Return to the Wild,” and it gives donors the opportunity to actually release a bird of prey back to the wild.

A rehabilitated Red-tailed Hawk ready to be released

The World Bird Sanctuary’s Wildlife Hospital specializes in the rehabilitation and reintroduction of birds of prey to the wild.  The actual reintroduction to the wild is where the public can be of great help to our organization and provide a memorable experience for those who witness and take part in the release.  From my perspective as an employee in the hospital, releasing a bird of prey that has been rehabilitated is quite possibly the best paycheck there is.

The way the program is set up is that prospective donors can call the World Bird Sanctuary’s Wildlife Hospital and explain that they would like to participate in the Return to the Wild program.  As long as the habitat is correct for the species, you are able to do the release at your house or another location as desired.  For those who have a particular species in mind, you may request it, but availability of a particular species will depend on which birds are currently ready to be released. 

A Cooper's Hawk being released back to the wild

On the day of the release a World Bird Sanctuary staff member will drive to the release location with the bird.  From there donors have the option to release the bird out of their own hands or by simply opening the travel crate to let the bird fly away at its own leisure.

This is a memorable way to celebrate a special occasion – birthday, anniversary, wedding, the passing of a loved one from this life into the next, Girl Scout Fly-up ceremonies, Boy Scout passages from one level to the next, or just for the thrill of being the one to return a magnificent creature back to the wild.

A Cooper's Hawk after release surveying his new environment

This is always a wonderful experience for all who participate, and I highly recommend this great program.  It’s an excellent opportunity to help out the wildlife that is all around us, and learn more about the fascinating creatures in our region.
For more information about our Return To The Wild Program Click Here (link), or call 636-225-4390 and ask for Catherine Redfern.

Submitted by Adam Triska, World Bird Sanctuary Field Studies Coordinator

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