Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Visit With Some Special Birds

On Sunday, Shara and I were fortunate enough to tour the Wings of Wonder raptor sanctuary with WoW founder and director Rebecca Lessard.  Wings of Wonder is not open to the public, but we were able to arrange a private tour.  In two weeks Rebecca will be bringing several of the WoW "ambassador birds" to Mid-Michigan for the Bird Day Celebration at the Ziibiwing Center on May 2nd.  Birds from WoW also appeared at the 2014 Bird Day Celebration.

The goal of WoW (and any rehabilitation facility) is to treat injuries and release healthy raptors back into the wild.  Unfortunately there are some birds, while otherwise healthy, have injuries that prevent them from being able to survive in the wild.  A few of these birds are lucky enough to call Wings of Wonder their home and Rebecca Lessard their caretaker.  There are currently eleven birds that have permanent homes at Wings of Wonder.

Here are some photos of most of those birds.

Florence the Long-eared Owl

Eoin the Great-horned Owl

Zenon the Snowy Owl

Golda the Golden Eagle

Gilda the Eastern Screech Owl - Gilda shares an enclosure with Arlo (a red colored male Screech Owl).  He was in their roosting box when we visited.

Jaeda the American Kestrel - Note how her left wing droops, this is a result of a broken wing suffered by falling out of the nest as a nestling

Pearl the Red-tailed Hawk

Another photo of Pearl

We observed the majority of the birds through the mesh of their flight enclosures, but there were couple of cases where we were able to enter the enclosures with Rebecca and observe the birds closer.  One of these birds was Ned the Saw-whet Owl.  Like several of the other permanent residents of Wings of Wonder, Ned was hit by a car.  This left him with a broken wing that did not heal well enough to allow him to be released back into the wild.

Ned the Saw-whet Owl

Another shot of Ned

Two of the birds provided a bit of comic relief during our visit.  Rita Mae the Peregrine Falcon decided that she wanted one of Rebecca's work gloves while we were in here enclosure.  A tug-of-war resulted between the bird and her caretaker.  Finally the glove was exchanged for a stuffed animal. 

Rita Mae the Peregrine Falcon

Rita-Mae with the stolen work glove

Rebecca and Rita Mae vying for control of the stolen glove
The final bird that we saw at Wings of Wonder was Doolin the Turkey Vulture.  Doolin is a very inquisitive bird.  Unfortunately he was stolen from his nest when he was very young and is completely habituated to humans.  He is too trusting of people and can never be released to the wild.  While we were there, he took quite an interest in Shara and was preening and showing off for her.

Doolin the Turkey Vulture eating a snack

Doolin showing his bare head and iridescent feathers.

To learn more about these wonderful birds check out their profiles on the Wings of Wonder web page and if possible make a donation to support their care.  Also come out the see some of them on Saturday May 2nd at the Ziibiwing Center in Mt. Pleasant.

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