Sunday, December 9, 2012

Raptor Ambulance Service

Raptor Ambulance Service 

on Hurricane Creek

As Hurricane Creekkeeper, I am often faced with injured animals and birds. Thankfully there is a place where you can take such injured creatures for rehabilitation. That is the "Animal Wildlife Center" at Oak Mountain, just outside Hoover Alabama.

Over the years I have taken many injured adult birds and a few babies which were pushed out of the nest like this "Red Shoulder Hawk chick. This one in the nest was stronger and pushed it's sibling out.
Baby Red Shoulder Hawk on the nest
If it had not been for Alabama Wildlife Center he would have died. As it turned out, the one that was pushed out lived and was later returned to the wild on my land here on Hurricane Creek.

 A couple of days ago I got a call that an Owl was at Tuscaloosa Metro Animal  shelter and in need of transport. My buddy Kenneth Robinson and I took the Barred Owl to the Wildlife Center for evaluation. It had a broken wing and a crushed wrist.
Hurricane Creekkeeper Raptor Ambulance Service
 Chances are this Owl will not make it through to recovery but at least it will not suffer needlessly. Some make it, some don't but I feel that we should do all we can to help these majestic creatures to either recover or cross over in peace.
Injured Barred Owl for transport.
It's always a little depressing when we learn that one will probably not make it so I try to take advantage of the park at the Wildlife Center @ Oak Mountain to reflect and remember why I run a Raptor Ambulance Service. I visit the educational bird aviaries and see the beautiful Red Tail there named "Ireland"
"Ireland" photo from Alabama Wildlife Center brochure
 I happened to run into my old friend Lee Hannah McDonald who works as a volunteer at the center. She came to my house for the Red Shoulder release shown in the video above.  I told Lee about the damage to the campground at Watson's Bend by the Apr 27th 2011 tornado and how the woods have changed so. We are now seeing less of some species and more of others.
Lee Hannah McDonald Alabama Wildlife Center
 One of the many new friends to show up in the camp area is the American Kestrel. I told Lee about them and remarked that they have about the prettiest plumage of all the Hawk family. Lee corrected me to say they are, in fact, in the Falcon family. She then surprised me with a rare opportunity to see and photo one of my favorite of the Raptors, The American Kestrel.
Lee and Legacy @ Alabama Wildlife Center

 Last week I saw one in the campground and shot a few photos of it in flight and on the perch in one of our many snags of a tree, left purposely for the Raptors to roost in. My shots were O/K at best being that the bird was just too far away to get any real detail.

So when Lee brought out "Legacy" or "Legs" for short. It was a gift to be able to get this close to a Kestrel.

While enjoying these photos, please consider a tax-deductible donation to the Alabama Wildlife Center so we can keep getting care and needed attention to our winged Friends!

All photos copyright. Do not use without owner permission.

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