Occasionally, the Ojai Raptor Center has an open house, which I always seem to miss. BUT, this year I made it! I left my pastel class one Saturday, an hour early, to head over there with Wendy from class. Turns out it's only about a 5 minute drive from my parents' house.
Apparently, they had at least 1,500 people that day and had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new large flight aviary. The next open house is November 10, 2012, if you're in the neighborhood!
Volunteers who regularly handle the educational birds where there to introduce the "resident raptors." If at all possible, birds that are brought there, are rehabilitated and set free. That is the goal. The educational birds are either physically unable to be released or were imprinted on humans and are unable to fend for themselves in the wild.
How cute is Bob? Unfortunately, someone else thought so too and he was imprinted on a human (someone hand-fed him and tried to turn him loose) and then he was unable to care for himself. He is non-releasable and now an educational bird.
Hitch was born in 2005 but has had head trauma and wing fractures that did not heal properly.
He's been at the Ojai Raptor Center since 2008.
Shytan sadly is unable to fly because he severed his right wing on a power line, flying after his prey.They don't know how old he is because he came to them as an adult, but he has been in captivity for 20 years. (These birds can live up to 50 years in captivity.) The trainer said he still tries to fly sometimes ... not remembering his wing isn't there. It must be like a human amputation where you have a phantom limb? Anyway, it is really sad but he is so majestic and is a great ambassador for conservation through people experiencing these amazing birds.
They built their new flight aviary so that it curves and will strengthen their wings for their in-flight turns.
On the way out of the property...
I pulled these You Tube videos from the Raptor Center's YouTube Channel.
"Avalon" gets chattier and chattier throughout the video below.
She is a female bald eagle and arrived in August of 2011.
For her full story, click here.
They also have a barn owl box on USTREAM that will hatch sometime this spring. You can see the mamma in there preparing her nest. Here is the USTREAM LINK
I wrote about the Ojai Raptor Center in a previous post, after meeting some of the birds at Ojai Day in October of 2010. To check out those photos, you can see that post here. I had an actual camera that day, not just my phone!
Hope you all have an amazing week. Please enjoy this song, which I love love love, by the indigo girls! Warning, it's a little sad but really beautiful.