Rehabilitation

"The Barn," as it is commonly called by volunteers, houses our Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and outdoor flight cages. Here, under the supervision of the WVRRC Director of Operations, Center volunteers attend to the daily needs of our injured residents. Duties primarily include feeding, cleaning and medicating as necessary. Our rehabilitation staff consists of volunteers from all walks of life, not just wildlife and animal science students or experts.

The WVRRC rehabilitates all raptor species (hawks, falcons, eagles, owls, and vultures). Injuries are quite varied and may require the birds to stay at our facility for a few days, weeks, or even months. The most common species admitted to the WVRRC is the Eastern Screech-Owl, followed closely by the Red-tailed Hawk.  Most birds are admitted because of an impact injury, usually caused by a moving vehicle.  Veterinary staff members generously give their time and resources for the rehabilitation effort.  Most birds are initially housed in the ICU until strong enough to be moved into a flight cage.  The final stage before release is the test flight to insure the strength and ability of the bird. Non-releasable birds stay at the Center and are used in conjunction with our environmental education programs or are transferred to other permitted facilities. Our raptor disposition reports, show our yearly statistics about the kinds of birds we treat, our success rates, and more.

All birds of prey play a vital role within our ecosystem. Raptors control pest outbreaks in both agricultural and urban settings by preying on insects, rodents and abundant pest bird species. Being the typical opportunistic hunters/predators, raptors will cull the weak or sick from a population, as well as prey on the most abundant species. Sharing the top of the food chain with humans, they help provide us with early warnings to subtle, as well as dramatic changes, to the earth’s ecosystem. All living things, including humans, depend on the quality resources of this planet for survival. Also the mystique associated with these solitary predators, usually observed only from a great distance, only enhances the questions we have regarding their physical attributes and beauty.

What to do if you find an injured raptor
See some of our patients in the photo gallery

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