2013 @ the Ojai Raptor Center

A year in review @ the Ojai Raptor Center (a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization dedicated to the rehabilitation and release of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife specializing in birds of prey, and to providing educational programs with unreleasable raptors to teach about wildlife, the environment, and our shared environment… ojairaptorcenter.org , https://www.facebook.com/groups/ojai.raptor.center/)

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In 2013 we had close to 1,000 birds come through our doors for rehabilitation.  Sadly, most of the cases we see are due to some kind of human impact which is why our education programs are so important in my opinion.  California Edison granted us the funds to provide 30 donated programs for low-income schools in the coming year.  I am very excited to present the birds to children who have never had the opportunity to see them in the past.  You never know what child you might inspire – I have seen it happen and it is so rewarding 🙂 In the first photo and the one below I am pictured with Rosie, our Red Tail Hawk ambassador who is unreleasable due to a broken wing that didn’t heal correctly.  Did you know that birds’ bones are hollow and because of this they heal as quickly as 10 days?  We fix broken wings at the Ojai Raptor Center often with success, but if the bone has been broken for more than a week, the chances of that bird being releasable are very slim.  This is what happened to Rosie.

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Red Tail Hawks only get their ‘red’ tails when they reach maturity, at around 2 years of age.  In captivity they can live up to 35 years.  Here are some photos of just a few of the orphaned baby Red Tail Hawks we received in the Spring of 2013.  I believe the first one’s nest was trimmed out of a tree (one of the more common reasons orphaned baby birds are admitted to the Center). We received a total of 81 Red Tail Hawks for rehabilitation this past year.

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This year, we received 30 American Kestrel babies, which is more than I have seen in the past 5 ‘baby seasons’ (ie: Springs), which is a good thing, as their numbers are on the decline again due to pesticide use. They have to be one of my favorite raptors.  Even though they are the smallest Falcons in North America, they have such big and fierce personalities, displayed perfectly by this photo that was shot upon this baby boy’s initial exam while his weight was being recorded:

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Barn Owls and Great Horned Owls always top the list as far as far as how many we receive annually as orphaned babies.  In 2013 we received 55 Great Horned Owls, and 88 Barn Owls, of which, more than half were juveniles.

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This year we received more Merlin Falcons than I have ever seen..

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more Western Screech Owls than in the past as well..

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a few Peregrine Falcons..

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We got in a few species we don’t see too often at the Raptor Center like this baby Black Crested Night Heron… check out that gape!..

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a few “species of special concern” came through our doors in 2013 like this Short-Eared Owl:

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Short Eared Owls are of special concern, and on a steep decline in population (*ORC has only received 2 for rehab in almost 20 years) because of the way they nest and incubate their young. They do not make a typical nest and they don’t nest in trees. The females scrape out a very simple and shallow “bowl” on the ground in the middle of open fields or grasslands. They are extremely vulnerable to all kinds of hazards because of this (predators, livestock, domestic animals, humans, and most of all, loss of habitat due to human development) I am happy to report that we successfully healed this little male’s wing and released him just a few  weeks ago 🙂

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Surprise! We don’t exclusively rehabilitate Birds of Prey at the Ojai Raptor Center, or just birds for that matter.  In fact, we just so happen to love Opossums at ORC and rehabilitate a lot of these often misunderstood creatures every year.

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We received a few mammals this year which were very unusual for us (and exciting), such as this beautiful Grey Fox who was admitted with a broken leg and was successfully rehabilitated and released in the Fall.

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and this baby skunk!

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Finally, an image capturing the best part of working @ the Ojai Raptor Center and our main goal; placing one of our patients back where it belongs, wild and free, soaring the skies above…..

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May you soar wild and free in 2014 and beyond!!!…..

Peace and Love

~J

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