Education
Rehabilitation
Research
Sanctuary
Above, Rough-legged Hawk © 2011 Paige Calamari, used with permission from Central Michigan Life.
This rough-legged hawk was released following rehabilitation at WRA. Note the feathers all the way to the toes. "Peaches" was so named for her peach colored underside.

WHO WE ARE

Wildlife Recovery Association is dedicated to promoting the understanding, appreciation and protection of wild raptors and their connection with nature.

 

Introduction

Wildlife Recovery Association was incorporated in 1979 to provide services for and about wildlife and promote a better understanding of their needs. We provide quality educational outreach programs with live birds of prey, participate in research and management programs to support rare and endangered species, and provide care for orphaned and injured hawks, owls, eagles, and falcons.

 

EDUCATION

Education is Schools

Wildilfe Recovery Association travels to many schools to inspire students to pursue their goals in science, math, journalism, and the arts.

Our goals in education are primarily to help people understand, appreciate, and protect wild hawks, owls, eagles, and falcons, and their connection with all of nature. We also incorporate many science concepts into our school programs, inspiring students to learn more: to think critically, to write well, to sharpen observation skills, and to incorporate art, music, and journalism into their educational goals.

 

REHABILITATION

We provide rehabilitation services to injured and orphaned hawks, owls, eagles, and falcons.

Our veterinarian, Dr. White, has 30 years of experience working with birds of prey.  In addition, we   work with several veterinarians in various parts of Michigan.

Housing for recovering birds includes 5 flight cages from 30 feet in length to 100 feet.

A network of volunteers assists with transport of injured birds when necessary.

We often work with law enforcement agencies whose employees assist in the rescue of birds of prey.

We work with many law enforecement agencies such as conservation officers, police officers, and sheriff departments who assist in rescuing these incredible birds.

We work with many law enforecement agencies such as conservation officers, police officers, and sheriff deputies who assist in rescuing these incredible birds. In this photo, a conservation officer from northeastern Michigan captured and delivered to us an injured bald eagle. (Released in summer of 2015)

 

RESEARCH, MANAGEMENT, AND MONITORING

For almost 30 years, we assisted with the reintroduction of peregrine falcons at wild sites in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  Now, we monitor peregrine nesting areas to ensure their continued ability to thrive and produce young peregrines.  We also encourage citizen science, projects such as nest box construction, and we support university research projects.

Thirty years of field research has helped tremendously in understanding these magnificent birds.  Here, a peregrine falcon flies past as we watch from the cliff.

Thirty years of field research has helped tremendously in understanding these magnificent birds. Here, a peregrine falcon flies past as we watch from the cliff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Inside the nest box, a young kestrel is cared for by an adult foster parent. This little one came to us at about 12 days of age; he was all downy white, and had been found under someone's porch. Dehydrated and cold; he would not have made it through the night. When this happens, it is often a feral cat or predator of some kind that has taken the young one from the nest, and for some reason dropped it.
Foster parenting with birds of prey is not always easy, because many of these predatory birds eat small birds. In order to be sure it is safe, we first feed the young nestling with a puppet that looks like an adult kestrel. Then, when it is warm and stable, he is placed in a small cage inside the cage of the foster parent. When the foster parent begins feeding the youngster through small openings in the cage, it is time to put the two together. In this video, the nestling has been fed, and is about to take a nap.

This one came from the Grand Rapids area. Thanks to all who rescued and transported the nestling! And thanks to our foster parent.
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We have two new eagles in rehabilitation - one with wing and eye injury, but doing well, and the other......take a look at the capture sequence. We need donations of fish! Whole fish - if you have extra, please call us at 989 772 1538. Please leave a message, we are rarely by the phone.

The eagle in these photos was covered with a fine claly/silt mud. It may have toxic chemicals mixed in; he was washed thoroughly, and warmed - watch for more updates.
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We have two new eagles in rehabilitation - one with wing and eye injury, but doing well, and the other......take a look at the capture sequence. We need donations of fish! Whole fish - if you have e...

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A landscape crew was cutting up a downed tree, and the chain saw blade went right through a nest cavity containing nestling screech owls. Needless to say, the crew was horrified that they might have hurt one of these little owls. They were housed in a veterinary clinic where they were rehydrated and fed and kept very warm (one seemed to be hypothermic) until they could be transported to WRA. They joined the first one that came in, and easily became a little family. In the video, they are looking with interest at a puppet screech owl that will be feeding them. Thank you all who were involved in helping these little guys! Eastern Screech Owl nestlings. -Barb ... See MoreSee Less

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This one needs help. Screech owls have anywhere from one to eight or nine young, depending on their prey base. If there is a lot of food available: mice, small rodents such as voles, and lots of insects (Please do NOT treat with insecticide to eradicate insects), they may have a nest full of youngsters that are able to thrive. Unfortunately, many of the tree cavities that they nest in are too small to hold that many youngsters once they are growing and moving around. They jostle each other and will push each other out of the nest. If they are about to fledge, this is ok, as the parents will bring them food as they learn to scramble back up the tree trunk and work on flight.

This little one is only about two weeks old, and is just beginning to open his eyes. He will need a screech owl puppet to feed him, so that he imprints on the image of a screech owl mom, and he will need a live adult foster parent to teach him everything that a screech owl needs to know in order to be a wild owl. We do this in a quiet location, away from people, pets, radio, TV, and other sounds. Very few people will see this owl after the initial exam, and he will not be handled at all, unless we need to move him to clean the cage.

The best help that can be given these owls is to allow larger trees that are developing hollow cavities to remain in the forest to give these beautiful owls a place to nest successfully. Until that happens, a nest box can be provided, at least for the following year, that will give the family enough space. We recommend a nest box somwhat larger than what has been promoted as the standard size for screech owls, especially where the habitat is natural with many food sources for owls. You may want to check our web site for screech owl nest boxes, then experiment with your own larger dimensions. Make sure you provide a way for the young owls to climb up out of the nest. Check our web site at wildliferecovery.org, then look for "Help for Wildlife".
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This one needs help. Screech owls have anywhere from one to eight or nine young, depending on their prey base. If there is a lot of food available: mice, small rodents such as voles, and lots of in...

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Young owls leave their nests before they can fly. In the beautiful weather that we will have this week, many people will be out enjoying Michigan's great forests. If you find a baby owl, please do not assume that it needs help. In the photos you see here, Jon found a young owl on his way to a favorite fishing spot. Rather than take the owl away from parents, he called in first to find out what he should do.

This one, a young barred owl, probably came from a tree very close by. She seemed to be healthy, and it appeared that the parents were coming in with food. He could see frog legs under the little owl, and plenty of owl poop in the area.

It is imortant in these cases that the young owl is left alone so that the parents can continue caring for her. This is a normal situation. The young owls need to hunt bugs and worms - and maybe even frogs - at night, and learn how to behave as a wild owl. The parents will come in to feed her as well. Parent owls will also protect the youngsters from predators, but may not be brave enough to protect the young owls from humans. If people continue to walk up to a young owl that is found on the ground, raccoons and other predators will follow that scent and be led directly to the owl, which may not be able to defend itself well enough to survive. If you need to check on a young wild animal, it is best to use binoculars, and remain at a distance.

Barred owls nest in hollow trees, but when an actual hollow tree is not available, they nest in the next best thing. Often that is a tall stump that is broken off at an angle, or a tree where three branches come together to provide support. In this case, it appears that the tall tree stump was the nest site, and it may have a long hollow down the trunk.

In this case, the young owl is pretty much on schedule. Although it is a dangerous time for young owls, it is very important to leave them where the parents can care for them. Baby owls should always be cared for by mom and dad owls when possible. -Barb Rogers
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Many Barred Owls came to us over the past winter. Most were released. Two of them buddied up in the flight cage, one male and one female. They came from areas not too far from each other, so when ready for release, we chose a spot in between the two locations, and released them together.

Look to see how well they blend in with the forest. The eyes begin to look like knotholes in the trees, and the feathers look a lot like the bark of the tree. No wonder it is hard to see them.
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MOM! This is mom screech owl. How do we know this? It was quite an interesting situation. The finder (in the Flint area) saw a grey lump in the middle of a busy intersection. He could hardly believe it was a little owl, Lucky for the owl, he took the time to check it out, stopped traffic, and scooped up the little girl. She was initially sent to our veterinarian, Dr. Dan White, who checked her carefully for possible injuries.

She had no fractures, just bumps and bruises. But she was determined to get out of any cage we put her in, including the cages in the vet clinic. We quickly got her to one of our flight cages to test her flight ability. She could fly fine. But the entire time she was in the flight cage, even though it was the middle of the day when owls usually hide and stay very still, she was searching for a way out. She checked out every crack in boards, every window, everything. We had flown Saw Whet Owls in this flight cage, so we felt fairly safe putting a screech owl in, but not her. She was determined, and she could have hurt herself trying to get out and get home. She very obviously had youngsters at home, and she needed to take care of them. Mother instinct is very strong!

So.......we drove her down to the location she where she was found, met with the finder (who worked with Habitat for Humanity), and let him release her just a few feet from where she was found.

Why is she squinting her eyes? She is hiding. Wild owls know how to keep their eyes open just a slit, and blend in with the forest. She is very wild, and very good at hiding. Watch to see how well she hides in the last photo.

Just one last comment. The bond between mom and baby is strong in most species. Many wild babies are picked up needlessly. If the parents are not found dead, please leave the young animals alone - the adults will come in and care for them in most cases. -Barb Rogers
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Last Friday night, after a week of programs in various parts of Michigan, we received a call on a downed loon. Loons can not become airborne unless they have plenty of water (usually a lake) to run across. Only then can they take flight. Often, they come down to wet tarvee parking lots, because from the air, it looks like water. Then they are stuck, and can only hop about like a frog, unable to take flight.

This loon was on dry pavement, which is unusual and right next to McDonalds in Shepherd. It also happened to be the beginning of the Maple Syrup Festival in Shepherd. Melissa, who works at the Antiques and Uniques Marketplace right next to McDonalds, took action, She and her family were able to identify the bird as a loon in part, because they were familiar with Louie the Loon from the Loon Baseball Team in Midland. That worked!

After the call we met Joanne Williams, state coordinator of Michigan Loonwatch at the grassy strip between the McDonald's restaurant and the Antique shop, and there she was, a beautiful not-so-common Common Loon. These amazing birds are on the endangered species list, and are currently moving through on migration.

Often, these birds need no help from people other than to get back on open water. Such was the case with this beautiful bird, and so we held her overnight after a careful physical exam, and she was released the next day. She made a few mournful calls, and Joe thought he heard an answer from across the swamp. Then, as we stood looking out over the swamp, we saw a loon flying overhead gointg south. I ran back up to the overlook where I was photographing the event, and watched as three loons flew south and out of sight. Thanks Melissa and family, Joanne and Michigan Loonwatch, and MLPA. And thank you Louie the Loon from the Midland's baseball team for making people more aware of Michigan's loons!
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Turkey Vultures have been moving through for a few weeks now, and will be looking for a place to nest. These beautiful, graceful birds will nest in tall stumps, in brush piles, in old shacks or under logs, and sometimes in a barn or hunting blind. They look for places where they can hide, usually fairly low to the ground.

If you find a nest with young (the babies are covered with white down), and don't want them nesting in that location, you can build a secondary nest - a brush pile works well - and the youngsters can be moved to the new nearby location without much disruption. We have assisted with this when the proud parents took over a hunting blind! Call us if you need help with this type of situation.

Meanwhile, enjoy watching these amazing birds in flight. They are on the move now.
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A recent eagle release..........more photos by Tim Kaufman - what an incredible sight showing the release as this eagle takes flight. ... See MoreSee Less

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